Communing with His Body and Blood
February 27, 2009
16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?1 Corinthians 10:16
When we die to self or reckon ourselves dead to some sin, and are lead by the Spirit instead, we are communing with the body of Christ (I Peter 2:24, Hebrews 10:5-10, I Corinthians 5:6-8, etc.). Whenever we exercise the authority of the blood over some area of condemnation or death (lack, sickness, alienation, boredom, sickness, etc.) and believe a promise for life and blessing in its stead, we are communing with the blood of Christ.
If one thinks about it, every minute of our day as Christians is spent acting out one or both of these two basic themes. When a person walks into his or her workplace, he is immediately concerned about what he should be doing, i.e., the body of Christ (bread). If he is trying to do something wrong, he is not communing with the body of Christ. Communing with the body of Christ is all about dying to our body of sin so that we can do His will with our bodies like Jesus did God's will with His body. The body of Christ is all about doing the will of God.
Because of the deliverance from sin that His body means to us, this message of the cross makes the bread, "freedom bread." Because of the will of God that His body means to us, this message of the resurrection makes the bread, "what would Jesus do" bread.
When the Christian is trying to do his job well, even the technical aspects of it, he is communing with the body of Christ. Even learning to correctly do engineering work or learning to fix a door lock could be examples of fellowshiping with the body of Christ. Learning practical ways to be a better husband or father are other examples of this. Living for righteousness (communing with His body) can encompass volumes and libraries of books of knowledge about how to do things right.
Now, as the Christian is doing God's will, he is constantly concerned about issues relating to success or provision, failure and lack. People and Christians have dreams, desires and needs. These all pertain to life. When the believer is applying the blood by faith to some area of lack or need or danger or death, and when this believer is believing some promise for provision or success or protection, he is communing with the blood of Christ.
The blood has to do with issues of life and death. To see one's work bear fruit is life to him. To receive provision to do his work is life to the believer. When the believer gets a word of wisdom to solve some problem, he is receiving life from the Spirit of Life (Romans 8: 2, 10-11). All of the gifts of the Spirit meet desperate needs and are therefore life-giving. Also, thousands of the promises of God, which were written by the Spirit, are "need-meeting" promises that impart life into the believer's situation. The blood (cup) represents all of these life giving gifts and promises. This is the resurrection message of the cup (blood). When the believer is experiencing any of these gifts or promises, he is communing with the blood of Christ.
The message of the cross that the blood means is deliverance from death. The devil has a ministry. His is a ministry of death. The Holy Spirit has a ministry of life (Romans 8:2, 10-11).
14Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15
10The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
When the believer applies the blood by faith to some form of death, he cancels the ministry of the devil. Thus, the believer by faith in the blood fights against the devil and contends for life. This also is communing with the blood of Jesus (cup). As can be seen in the previous several paragraphs, the cup and the bread each have a unique message of the cross and each has a unique message of the resurrection.
The messages of the body and the blood relate to each other in very important ways. For example, notice that we eat the bread first and then drink the cup. With God we always start by doing the right thing first, then God's provision of life and support is provided.
17So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." (Matthew 19:17).
2And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: (Deuteronomy 28:2).
19As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death. (Proverbs 11:19).
33But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.(Matthew 6:33).
2And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: (Deuteronomy 28:2)
I am reminded of the old saying, "What God initiates, God provides for." This represents a huge issue in most people's lives. If we do what God wants us to (bread), we might lose our jobs, family, friends or life. We need to see God as our source to meet these needs (cup).
This basic pattern is huge in the Old and New Testament, also. The Law and the Prophets so often mentioned by Jesus are summarised here. The Law is how we should live, i.e., the bread. The Prophets spent most of their time warning the Israelites (foretelling) about the consequences for their obedience and disobedience which were blessings and cursing, i.e., the cup.
We can see that all of the teachings of Jesus regarding the Christian lifestyle are seen and summarised in the two elements of the Lord's Supper. All of His teachings about how we should live and the condition of our hearts are summarised by the bread. The beatitudes proclaim the blessedness (cup) of people with certain character or heart traits (bread).
The teachings of the apostles regarding the Christian lifestyle, as seen in the epistles, are summarised in the elements of the Lord's Supper. In the book of Romans, for example, the justification by faith message seen in chapters 3-5 and 8, is represented by the cup. The sanctification message seen in chapters 6-8, is represented by the bread. Practical instructions for Christian living seen in chapters 12-14, are represented by the bread. In fact, I believe that if the apostle Paul had it to do over again, with one of his letters he would have written all or most of the truths seen in the book of Romans (and the other epistles) in the context of the two elements of the Lord's Supper.
Even Heaven and Hell are seen or implied by the elements of the Lord's Supper. In Heaven we will experience eternal life. Every need will be met continually. There will be no suffering, tears or curse. The cup represents eternal life. Also, in Heaven there will be no sin. Heaven will be populated by righteous people made perfect. The bread represents righteousness. On the other hand, sin and eternal death will be in Hell. Regarding death, people will have no need met ever. In hell the desires of the wicked will be thrust aside continually, forever. They rejected God as their source of life (cup), and they got what they wanted; no God, no life. The cup represents deliverance from death while the bread represents deliverance from sin. On earth we contend by faith for greater and greater measures of righteousness and life. We contend for deliverance from sin and death. Heaven and Hell are their ultimate and pure forms. The Lord's Supper helps us contend for these great benefits.
The Lord's Supper sheds light on what it means to be saved. When I first was saved, there was much talk about people who were "saved, but not following the Lord." It got to the point where I began to realise just how many "saved, but not following the Lord" Christians we have in our Western churches. Now, certainly all of us have been carnal at times. But, a lifetime and lifestyle of continuous carnality is another matter.
The elements of the Lord's Supper expose a lax and partial gospel. The bread declares that we were delivered or saved into good works. The bread also declares that we were saved out of our sin. Being saved out of hell and into heaven as the cup proclaims is only half of the gospel. (Now, repentance is required to receive the benefits of both the cup and the bread.) Maybe, the "saved, but not interested in following the Lord" Christians should only drink the cup.