The Cup of Blessing

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Are you a wise man? Then consider what I say. The practice of the Lord’s Supper and our participation in it is a spiritual blessing that is often over-minimized in fundamentalist circles.

I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The 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 10:15-16)

The subjects of verse sixteen are the cup and the bread. The cup… which we bless, and the bread that we break are both the communion of the body of Christ. By using the literary form of synecdoche (using a part to represent the whole), both are also a blessing. The cup of blessing and the bread of blessing are the communion of the body of Christ. This teaches us that the entire Lord’s Supper is a blessing.

Many tend to believe that the practice of communion is only a memorial that also has practical ramifications of cleansing the church body. They overreact to the Catholic teaching that we can receive some sort of saving grace by receiving this sacrament. Of course, the Lord’s Supper is not a sacrament in this sense, but overreaction is just as unbiblical a problem. The truth is, when we approach the supper properly, we receive a spiritual blessing we could not otherwise obtain.

Just as there are curses associated with abuse of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:27-32), there are blessings associated with partaking of His supper. The supper is a means of blessing. When we partake, we receive blessings we would not have received if we had not partaken. If we believe that there are real consequences for those that abuse the Lord’s Supper (and I have heard many sermons clearly intended to relate this truth), then we must also agree that there are real consequences for those that partake properly. The Lord’s Supper is not an empty religious ceremony. It is full of depth, meaning, and importance.

What then, is the blessing? Or, where is the locus of the blessing? It is not in the elements themselves. Bible believers do not accept the teaching that somehow the cup and bread turn magically into some other type of physical phenomena that has intrinsic spiritual value. We do believe that using these elements in the proper way, in the proper place, and with the proper attitude does have spiritual value. This value is a special blessing that can only be received in participation of the Lord’s Supper. It is a blessing that distinguishes the Lord’s Supper from other spiritual practices.

We should also remember that it is an undeserved blessing. When we approach the Lord’s Table, we must come recognizing and remembering His great gift, His great grace. We realize that even the blessing we receive at communion we could not have except for the grace of God. It is grace received in the remembrance of grace received. We are humbled as we reflect on Christ’s sacrifice and substitutionary death. We rejoice in the truth of redemption. The Lord’s Supper is a blessing!

We receive a particular blessing as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper with thanksgiving in communion with other believers because of our fellowship in Christ. We show loyalty to the Lord’s Table as we remember His broken body and shed blood, which washes away our sin.