Judged by the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:31-32)

fatal_communion

Are you good enough to take communion? To me, this is an absurd question. It is exactly like asking whether you are good enough to hear the gospel. But to many it is not an absurd question. It is a serious question because a wrong answer could make you sick and kill you!

From whence comes this ridiculous notion? It comes from misunderstanding Paul’s instructions about communion (see 1 Cor. 11). If you’ve ever done communion in church, you may have heard that you need to examine yourself for sin and that if you don’t you could get sick and die. This is utter nonsense, as I explain elsewhere.

A reader wrote to me: “I am interested in the holy communion and healing. However, I noticed that all who teach on 1 Corinthians 11 never touch on verses 31-32 and these are the verses I struggle with the most.” She was referring to these verses:

But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. (1 Cor 11:31-32)

(Sidebar: Before I got grace I found many verses in the Bible were tough and hard to understand. I didn’t even try to make sense of them, I just put them in the too hard basket. But now I deliberately seek out the hard scriptures because I have learned that they often hide a treasure. If you want to find the hidden treasures in scripture, but don’t know how, read this.)

What does it mean to judge ourselves?

For if we would judge ourselves… (1 Cor 11:31)

Paul is not prescribing worthiness tests for communion. He is saying “Jesus’ death is a big deal, so take a moment to reflect on it. If Christ’s death means something to you, then communion is a time to celebrate. But if the significance of his death is news to you, here’s your chance to process it. Here’s an opportunity to repent and believe the good news.”

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Cor 11:31)

Everyone has their day of judgment. For the Christian, judgment day is in the past. The Christian has looked into the mirror of the law or listened to the accusations of his own conscience, judged himself wanting, and taken hold of the grace that Jesus provides. His judgment day is thus his salvation day, and since he has judged himself he will not be judged again.

A few verses earlier Paul says “everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup” (1 Cor 11:28). The word for examine means “to test and by implication approve.” Those in Christ see themselves approved by God; those without Christ may see themselves in need of his grace.

sacrificial lambAn old covenant picture may help.

At the temple the high priest examined the sacrificial lamb, not the one who brought it. In the new covenant, Christ is our Lamb without blemish or defect (1 Peter 1:19). During communion we examine him and see ourselves as tested and approved in him.

But what about the person who has no lamb? What about the one who refuses God’s grace and stands on his own merits? For him a judgment day remains and if he continues to scorn grace his judgment will be one of self-inflicted condemnation.

Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world. (1 Cor 11:32)

The old order of sin and death has been condemned. It has no future. A new order of grace and forgiveness is springing up. Jesus stands astride the old and the new rescuing all who would abandon the sinking ship. Whoever takes his outreached hand is saved, but whoever refuses goes down with the ship (see John 3:18).

What does it mean to be judged by the Lord?

In a literal translation, v.32 speaks of “being judged by the Lord.” This is a reference to the witness of the Holy Spirit who will constantly seek to affirm that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (John 16:10). In Christ, we are judged righteous and are thoroughly approved.

What about the Lord’s discipline?

When we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world (1 Cor. 11:32, NASB)

The word for disciplined in this verse should not make you think of punishment. It means training as in training up a child. To discipline is to disciple and we are discipled by the Lord. With that in mind, here is my paraphrase of the two verses:

When we receive the Lord’s good judgment – in him you are righteous! – and when we learn to discern what is from the Lord (grace and healing) and what is not (sickness and worry), we are trained up as sons and daughters. We no longer suffer the effects of sin and condemnation. (1 Cor 11:31-32, Paul’s paraphrase)

When we get ill we need to ask ourselves, “Is this sickness from the Lord?” When we come under pressure and stress, same thing. “Is this anxiety from the Lord?” Once we have renewed our minds and decided this bad thing is not from God, we are ready to proclaim the Lord’s death over our situation. “Christ died that I might enjoy an abundance of good health. Sickness, leave! Anxiety, take a hike!”

Taking communion when you’re sick is great way to exercise your faith. It’s saying, “I don’t identify with these symptoms. I identify with Jesus, who carried my infirmities and who was wounded so that I might be healed.”

Communion done in the name of dead religion will leave you sin-conscious and condemned. But communion done in the name of Jesus is one of the healthiest and most liberating things you’ll ever do!

Not_a_subscriber_550

Comments

  1. Awesome word Paul. Thank you for always shining the the light of the gospel into those often misunderstood passages of Scripture. Your ministry is a great blessing to the body of Christ.

  2. another good one Paul,I to have a hard scripture basket,the questions that after
    so many years you feel like you should have the answers to,but are afraid to ask
    because you feel it would be embarrassing, like why did there have to be a
    sacrifice for sin. What was the deep magic that CS Lewis was talking about, and
    of course the one you dont want to think about to long.”where did God come from”?

    ps: my former comment disappeared, if it shows up feel free to pick which comment to use.

  3. What a great explanation of this scripture. I know people who are afraid to take communion for the very reason of Gods judgement. I am so thankful that God judged my sin once and for all at the cross and I am forever free of guilt and condemnation. Thanks Paul

  4. Man… I feel like a Paul Ellis cheerleader! I should be wearing a short skirt and waving pom-poms…but once again, you absolutely nailed it. But truth be told you’re simply a cheerleader for Jesus!😎 and so am I and so are a bunch of these other fools for Christ. I’m going back to look at some of these links to see if I can listen into your hotline to God😎. If you think this post is a little too silly you can chalk it up to, it’s morning where I am and I’m still drinking coffee.

  5. Jesus completed the work on the cross. It is finished I just simply believe in the finished work. Communion is a wonderful opportunity to remember the cross and what it means to those who believe. We do not have to live in fear or doubt because of what Christ accomplished.

  6. Not all communions are the same. Keep in mind, communion for the Catholic is different than communion for a true believer. The Catholic communion is an ongoing religious sacrifice perpetuated by a religion of fear, whereas communion for a true believer is one of remembrance, celebration and thanksgiving for Jesus’ one time sacrifice for all sins on the cross.

    • That’s a rather sweeping generalization. I suspect there are many Protestants for whom communion is a time of fear just as there are some Catholics for whom communion is a time of remembrance and thanksgiving. I used to be an example of the former.

      • Let me rephrase it a bit. The Catholic religion teaches that communion is a perpetual ongoing sacrifice for sins. The following quote is from their teachings, “In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the alter of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.” I use to a Catholic, and not a true believer.

  7. I can see this explanation as plausible and I certainly agree with the all the conclusions regarding no condemnation in Christ and healing being available in the atonement but I have a few hesitations on Dr Ellis’ exegesis . First the apostle Paul is typically very straight forward and simple in his exhortations – if Dr Ellis is right Paul is being very cryptic here – why not simply say, “If you don’t get serious about accepting and embracing Jesus death for your health and healing you are going to stay sick and die as some already have.” Or why bot simply say, “Communion is the Lords opportunity to be healed- take advantage of it or remain sick and even die.” The other hesitation I have with Dr Ellis’ exegesis that no where else in the Bible is divine healing offered with a threat or warning that if you don’t embrace it you will be sick or die. This to me is just another manifestation of condemnation in a more grace pails table package. When Jesus heals He doesn’t require anything from the sick person – just as he he does when he raises dead people up by his grace alone ( dead people can’t ask, can’t believe ). when Jesus heals he heals by grace alone- he provides the desire to be healed, the faith to be healed and the healing power to raise the sick person up. He doesn’t require us to do anything. I have witnessed many spectacular divine headings in my career – all of them were by the fathers mercy and by Jesus grace alone.

  8. Judgment after the cross comes from the same lie that there is mercy after the cross, we , that is me and YOU crucified the son of man, an expression of what we do to each other, but this was also the last Adam the Son of God.There is no mercy for this.But in acceptance there is only grace, unmerited awesome favour, and blessing.There is no judgment no mercy only good news mercy and judgment ended at the cross.

  9. That would make sense only if communion was for the unbeliever. But it is instruction for the believer. To be in remembrance of Christ, a memorial! How can someone who never applied (through faith) his forgiveness by his death, come to remembrance? Its not there to remember!
    Communion is not for healing, James 5:14 is for that. As for what chasten means in this verse Vine’s say’s it is a verb that means “to chasten with blows and to scourge”. Strong’s mentions ‘punish’ as one of its description’s. Hebrews 12:5-11 gives more light. David in Psalm 119:67 brings forth this, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.” These scripture’s in 1 Corinthians are truly a warning to all who partake.

    • If that is true then you might as well not bother taking communion at all and stay in bed on a Sunday morning becoz none of the so called “best of us” qualifies.Unless you have a photographic memory and have caught every sin that you have committed, then you have committed the sin of presumption in thinking you are worthy.And if you think that the Lord will waive all your sin becoz you have been sincere in confessing all your “known sin” ,as many traditionalists think,then by your own argument ,you are being illogical.You cannot have it both ways.

      • No, we don’t go around sinning, as Paul instructed, 1 Corinthians 15:34, “…..do not sin:…”
        How often do we sin, 1 John 2:1 John say’s “if we sin, we have an advocate…”
        That does not sound like we are raking up a tally of sin’s so great as to be lost were to start. No, Paul instructed, 1 Corinthians 15:34, “…..do not sin:…”
        John say’s in, 1 John 3:8, “He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” then verse 10, tells us how the ‘Children of God’ and the ‘children of the devil’ are made manifest! The devils kids sin! Jude 19, “these be they ….having not the Spirit”
        We are not liken to them as we ‘have the Spirit,’ we that are in Christ. We walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Galatians 5:16). We are actually debtors -not to the flesh, but to the Spirit (Romans 8:12).
        As far as confessing sin, “If” we sin and if we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from all “unrighteousness”. So, yes the Lord will keep His promise of 1 John 1:9.
        As far as the “best of us” is concerned, we are not to compare ourselves amongst ourselves anyway, 2 Corinthians 10:12. We are to “Examine our-self….” 2 Corinthians 13:5 .

      • Tom,
        Would you mind clarifying? “No, we don’t go around sinning, as Paul instructed, 1 Corinthians 15:34, “…..do not sin:…”How often do we sin, “. Do we sin or not sin?

        In light of your response; could you explain “These scripture’s in 1 Corinthians are truly a warning to all who partake.”? Thank you

  10. Cory Leman says:

    Great post Paul…very clear revelation. Thank you

  11. Tom.If I understand you correctly you are saying we recall and confess our sin prior to taking communion in order to avoid punitive jugdement and that by keeping a “short account with God” we will know where to start when it comes to confession and so be able, as it were ,to cover ourselves?(Btw Radical grace does not advocate a “live like the devil” lifestyle)If that is the case then it fails becoz as human beings we are morally tainted to the core.Also,confession and repentance is not just about giving up obvious sins such as drugs,drink and porn(sins of commission) but also turning from less obvious sins(sins of omission).Believe me you would be at the alter a month of Sundays before you could even dare consider taking communion becoz Gods standards are so impossibly high.Finally,the radical grace interpretation of 1Jn1v9 is that it is for unbelievers not believers.

  12. Tom,I was not suggesting we make comparisons amongst ourselves:note my use of the word “so-called”. Compared to Jesus we are all miserable failures but thanks to God he took the bullet.Only those who are fallen from grace make such comparisons.

    • Good David, I took it the wrong way, as we are to compare ourselves to Jesus, for He is so much our model. Peter in 1 Peter 2:21,22 tells us He is our example and we should follow in His steps, “who committed no sin….” This is our comparison, what we should strive for.
      “…the radical grace interpretation of 1Jn1v9 is that it is for unbelievers not believers.”
      How, is it for unbeliever?
      An unbeliever just has to confess Romans 10:9 and 10, as their “sin’s that are past” (Romans 3:25)were already forgiven! For the unbeliever, believing “through faith” is all there is to salvation, “…as God for Christ’s sake has (past tense) forgiven you”, Ephesians 4:32 . Again, “But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (unbelievers).” Romans 5:8. 1 John 1:9, on the contrary, is for believers who have subsequently, sinned!

      • Tom.Re:1Jn1v9.If The heart of God is to readily forgive us for our past sin(Which he did at the cross )and which if you think about it were,from the perspective of the cross,still in the future,then surely one can conclude he has forgiven not only our past and present sins but also our future sins as well.When the prodigal son returned home, the father the did not demand that he get on his knees and confess his sins in meticulous detail but immediately embraced him and demand a fatted calf be slaughtered.This idea that God only forgives us for past sin and with holds forgiveness until we confess contradicts what we are told elsewhere in scripture that we should forgive our enemies ( ie before they confess their wrongs to us) makes God to appear hypocritical.

  13. Awesome post….I think Paul in this verse is preaching the gospel of grace. Encouraging us to believe on the finished work of Jesus. In this there is no judgement. Only healing and life to the full!

  14. Sure Jimmi, reiterating, We are not debtors to the flesh, but to the Spirit Romans 8:12. And culminates at verse 16, bearing witness that we are children of God, thus distinguishing us from the children of the devil. As Paul stated so well in Romans 6:2,” …How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Galatians 2:20, “We are crucified with Christ…who loved us and gave himself for us.” This is the dealing with sin mentioned in Revelation 1:5, “…washed us ‘from’ our sins in His own blood,….”Notice, from our sins, not in our sins. Again, Romans 5:8,. “…While we were yet sinners…”.! “He evinces his love in the most affecting, endearing way imaginable, implying that we were not to be always sinners, as there should be a change wrought; for he died to save us, not in our sins, but from our sins (adapted from Matthew Henry commentary on Romans 5). So, “Do we sin or not sin?” We can, but according to John, its a matter of, “if we” and not “when we”, 1 John 2:1, making it something thats “not a habit”.
    In 1 Corinthians 5:11, we see similarly that the believer is not to even “eat” with those that claim to be believers yet walk “unworthy” of that claim. This is with ‘common’ meal. How much more so with the ‘holy’ communion meal are we not to partake in thus an “unworthy manner” our self. Note also that Paul repeats this phrase (in both v 27 and 29), as It is common in the Scriptures, as indeed it is everywhere else , to repeat a declaration in order to deepen the impression of its importance and its truth (warning).
    It is clear that, If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged, v. 31 is the crux of the matter, and it is so we are not “condemned” with the world.

  15. Howdy:-) Thankyou so much Paul, totally agree.
    How can one expect to get sick when Jesus clearly says in John 6:54 “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life (quality not just quantity)”. Joseph prince says in greek, you can tell this scripture is refering to communion. The blood and body of Jesus gives life to our mortal bodies, that even John the apostle never died; there are mystics that’s 400 years old still alive. Elijah, Enoch never died, communion is total opposite of death. When I take of the body i declare, “Your body was broken so I could be made whole, you were wounded so I could be healed. I judge myself healed. The life is in the blood, i drink your blood and i have life.”
    In Israel today, when people take the unleaven bread for passover, there are stripes on the bread, this is actually a prophetic picture of Jesus being whipped and beaten.

    • Eating his body and drinking His blood does not save, its “believing” that saves. Jesus was speaking this to folks that did not believe . Must read John 6 carefully. Communion is a memorial to Jesus, a remembrance of His giving of His body being broken and blood being spilled as a lamb, a sacrificial lamb.
      Notice verse 47, “..he who ‘believes’ in me has everlasting life”, This goes right along with other scripture such as John 3:16.
      one must read it (John 6) in view of the audience. They were those who just saw Jesus great miracle of feeding the 5,000 (verse 26), yet said to him (verse 30), “What sign will you perform then, that we may see it and believe you…” Crazy huh! Then Jesus relates Himself to the manna that God gave, as these people had only ‘food on their minds’. They followed him for hand outs (verse 26), as verse 36 is clear, “…you have seen me and yet do not believe.” Verse 48-50 say’s it all, as they only understood Him in terms of bread for their stomachs. But, this is certainly not related to the communion, as the communion table is for “believers only”, 2 Corinthians 6:14. PTL

      • Hi Tom, eternal life doesn’t only refer to the length of life, but it also refers to “quality” of life. When one takes communion regularly, they experience a quality of life, the healing/life benefits Jesus.

      • the Word “Salvation” in greek “Sodzo”, doesnt’ just include deliverance from hell, but also healing, life, wholeness, preservation. God wants to save every part of us.

  16. 1 Cor 11. Its not that God makes anyone sick, but its just that people are not recognising, receiving the revelation, tapping into the healing power of Jesus that they don’t get the benefits of healing, Divine health, that they actually become sick. But when one takes time to ponder that ‘By His whipping I AM healed”, by faith I’m tapping into the reality of HIs sacrifice for me and experiencing salvation( includes healing not just deliverance from hell). E.g. imagine there was a virus going around that makes everyone sick, but if you wear mouth masks and gloves you can be protected, if you don’t you will get sick. Without recognising the body and blood of Lord and the Spirit of Life to give me life and life abundantly, i’m not getting ‘mouth masks or gloves’ of viral protection against the viral lies of this world that makes me live under the law of sin and death which produces sickness and diseases.
    God doesn’t make anyone sick; but we make ourselves sick by not recognising, and rejecting revelation, and using the healing he’s provided for us through the body and the blood.
    God’s judgment is God’s discipline, not punishment. If I’m hosting a party at my house, and my son is running around wild and causing havoc, then if it has come to a point that he doesn’t listen, I might have to tell him to goto his room for a while. This is discipline, but he’s missing out on the party and food and benefits of felloship and friendship.I”m not punishing him as such, but i’m just telling him to goto his room so he won’t cause havoc anymore. When he goes into his room, its like a room that has no revelation and he cannot experience the benefits of the party.

  17. Brian Midmore says:

    The problem with the Corinthians was the manner in which communion was being conducted. It was clearly disorderly and because of this, things were happening that did NOT ‘proclaim the Lords death’. It is likely that the rich were given precidence in the feast. This was a denial of the cross not an affirmation of it. PE is right to say that the concern of Paul is not necessarily about some personal sin we have committed. But if this sin is resentment or hatred of another brother this denies the Lords death. We should be reconciled to that brother before we take communion. We should discern the Lord’s Body i.e his people. We need to receive the Lords Body both as bread and as his people.

    • I see.I like that Brian, But, Paul say’s “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”. To be in Him one must abide in Him and His words abide in such a one. But, here in Corinthians he say’s there is a possiblity you will be condemned ‘with the world” (verse31) if there was no chastening. Now chastening, Hebrews 12:11 yields or brings forth “…the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
      There should be “now no condemnation” , but there is instead a propensity for being condemned with the world, less chastening is applied against “unrighteousness” here. Sounds like confession is needed, as this brings forth “cleansing of all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 . Thats what I see.

    • The purpose of taking communion, was to remind ourselves of the healing benefits of the body and blood of Jesus. His body brings us healing and supernatural strength, his blood gives us life and cleanses us from a guilty conscience. When we are taking it, we are celebrating His death, what He achieved on the cross. It was all a Free Gift, it has nothing to do with us, confessing sins or getting right with one another- all this is a form of works, (i’m not saying we dont’ do that, because love is simply the overflow), but it was not really about that at all. Communion is communion of the Lords’s body and blood, it’s not a ‘work’, but its a gift of grace- don’t make it into a work (gotta confess your sins and do this or that)…. it’s a celebration!!

      • Dear brother, I humbly submit this;
        Then why did not James mention this? He sure missed a great opportunity at James 5:14. But I grant this, it has relevance to Psalm 103:2,3 “…and ‘forget not’ (remember) all his benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;” which actually sounds like “Do this in remembrance (forget not) of me ” (the benefits of sacrifice of Himself for us) Luke 22:19 . But,
        What folks do not consider is the relationship that sin and sickness have. David said “Before I was afflicted, I went astray” Psalm 119:67
        Notice, for what ever reason, the way one serves it or the condition your personal condition is in, there is, on the contrary, a promise of weakness, sickness and death as a result. This is not time to be healed, but a time to avoid getting weak, sick or dying!
        Can one be healed at such a time, of course, as God is not restricted, His hand is not shortened! But again, Paul (as I mentioned James missing opportunity for speaking of communion)), missed a great opportunity mentioning healing! my bet for healing is on James (Jesus’ brother’s) command. Thanks

  18. hi pastor Paul, greetings in Lord Jesus name, thank you for your teachings , I am learning so much about God’s grace day by day.
    yes keep up the good work.
    the other day I was talking to people about God’s grace and was telling them that a believer even if he sins will not go to hell, they had lot of questions to ask from the bible , they started asking me about all those verses in the bible from the book of Galatians, eph, Hebrews, I got stuck and did not knew how to answer them , was I wrong? . please if you have any teachings on this verses could you teach me.
    thanks
    God bless you.

  19. God’s grace enlightens His word in our lives, and this can be observed about you through your post. Pity some of the people who instead of receiving it and benefiting from it want to prove their point for argument’s sake. Stay blessed Paul !

  20. Tom Ludemann says:

    I sure appreciate your insight into these scriptures. You are right on. It is always about knowing our Lord and not just knowing about Him. He has defined Himself as Love, so why not read the word that way. Put those glasses on to see the light. He is always bringing His best to us and communion is a wonderful way. Satan has been trying to put his image on God for to long. Thanks Paul for exposing his plots.

  21. Mark Hritz says:

    It pains me to read some of this stuff just as it pains me to realize that most,yes I say most,Christians will fight to the death for an infinite amount of disqualifications to receiving our Fathers super abounding grace each day.
    Jesus tells us that if we don’t chew his flesh and drink his blood continually,he will have no part in us nor will we have any part in him. This is what he says.
    There are only three things we can do during communion that will cause us problems.
    1. When we take communion as a group,we must not receive it as a part of the group that leaves out another part of the group. We must all receive at the same time.
    2.We must not get drunk on the wine and gorge on his body.
    3. We must discern his body from his blood.
    The holy spirit tells us that if the whole group doesn’t receive together,if we get drunk on the blood and overindulge of his body,or don’t discern/differentiate the body from the blood,we receive in an unworthy manner and can become sick and die before our time.
    For anyone who doesn’t believe that his body was broken so that ours could be made whole,I would ask Why are we told that we can become sick and die before our times if we DON’T receive it in a worthy manner?

    In short he tells us that we must receive,then religious man comes along and gives us an infinite number of reasons why we had better not.

    As far as sin is concerned,Jesus died ONCE.
    Who did he die for? ALL!
    All sin debt was paid once for all. There is no other payment due by him or us.

  22. I have been studying this passage more thoroughly since meditating on this article . I believe this passage can be easily unpacked by working backwards starting with the solution Paul gives back to the problem. The solution (to being disciplined by The Lord via weakness and sickness and “sleep” is clearly stated: “If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgement. “( 1 Corinthians‬ ‭11‬:‭34‬ NASB)
    So here in the solution lies the key to understanding the entire passage. It seems a failure to discern the Lords body in the communion celebration has to do with their ATTITUDE towards the rest of the Lords people. I’ll let you all figure out what that BAD ATTITUDE towards the Gods people is for yourselves that brings judgement/discipline. Here is a clue: It is staring you right in the face -just look at this inspired question: ” or do you despise the church of God ?” (11:22)

  23. wow…i feel now iam free to take communion…how do i keep in touch with you..i need to learn fro m you

Tell us what you think (<250 words)...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s