One theme we keep repeating during our communion is the depth of the ditch of self-examination; we’re never quite sure when to stop digging, when we’ve hit the bottom. Eating and drinking in an unworthy manner warrant’s God’s discipline, so we ought not to come to this Table casually, let alone under the impression that God invites us due to our credentials. Nevertheless, we fall into the ditch when we can only think about ourselves. Our attention here, and our affections, belong on someone else.
This is the problem of any idol. In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul warned against the example of idolatry that Israel set. The people served the idol of indifference, sitting down to eat and drink and rose up to play. They served the idol of sensuality, indulging in sexual immorality. They served the idol of self, grumbling and complaining about their circumstances. They were tempted in ways we all are, ways that are common to man. But He won’t let us be tempted beyond our ability, He will also provide a way of escape.
Paul then exhorts believers away from idolatry and explains how to do it. “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” In other words, we topple idols by communing with Christ and with each other at this Table.
Week by week, as we commune with Him, we decrease and He increases. We become what we eat, though, of course, in His world, that doesn’t happen overnight. But it does happen, as sure as night becomes day every morning. He is conforming us into the image of His Son. He is building up the whole body, uniting us and purifying us for our wedding day, for the marriage supper of the Lamb. We look to Him as we eat His flesh. We wait for His return as we drink His blood. He gets all our attention here and, as that happens corporately, we are made like Him and united in Him.