Of all the good gifts of God that have been abused, perhaps nothing has been more abused than the gospel. Salvation is not by works. No man can do anything, give any amount, or feel any emotion enough to earn favor with God. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). That’s it. We are declared righteous by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
Paul knew that such a good gift would be abused. “So, you’re saying that it doesn’t matter at all what I do? Actually, more sin on my part makes for more glory on His part?” Sort of. After more than two chapters in his letter to the Romans about justification he addressed those who thought they should sin more, sin on purpose so that grace would be seen as more great.
That’s not how it works, of course, because the grace that justifies is grace that changes. But if someone can’t misunderstand the gospel that way, then it probably hasn’t been presented truly.
Let’s try it out. What do you need to do so that you can eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord? How much or how long do you need to have obeyed? What sins for what duration do you need to have avoided?
It does not matter how many good works you did or didn’t do this week. It doesn’t matter what sins you avoided or didn’t. If you believe in the risen Lord Jesus Christ, then you are righteous by faith and the Father receives you into fellowship. Communion is in remembrance of Him, not in remembrance of you.
This means that even if you’ve been thinking about communion wrongly, if you’ve been fearful rather than celebratory, even that doesn’t change your invitation to the Table. There is a seat at His Table for everyone who confesses that Jesus is Lord and believes that God raised Christ from the dead. He has made all of the arrangements, and that is a reason for our hearts to be glad in remembrance of Him.