Jesus introduced the Lord’s Supper at a solemn time, the Passover meal on the night before His death. Paul shows its solemnity in the warnings he gives to those who would participate in the supper in 1 Corinthians 11:17–34.
Paul is concerned that Christians in the Corinthian church are not participating in the Lord’s Supper properly, so he writes to teach, correct and warn them. The supper is the new covenant in Jesus’ death. For Christians, it involves remembering, reflecting, recommitting and reconnecting with Jesus in all the solemnity of His saving work. Paul reminds them that they must come to the Lord’s table only if they are worthy. What is the worthiness that Paul demands? It is not moral perfection, but rather genuine Christian commitment (1 Cor. 11:19). That commitment should be examined and reviewed before communion. We must truly believe that Christ’s death is for us and secures our salvation. We must recognize that our participation in the supper is a testimony and proclamation to the world that we trust His saving work.
If we are unworthy when we come to the table, we become guilty with those who put the Lord to death. Instead of saving us, the death of Christ will condemn us. This is serious indeed. To avoid this horrifying outcome, we must examine and judge ourselves. We must repent.
Our repentance, of course, must itself be genuine: “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10). In worldly grief, the sinner focuses on himself, as Judas does after betraying the Lord. Godly sorrow focuses on God and our need of forgiveness from Him. Read the full article by W. Robert Godfrey.