As I sat in the worship service this past Lord's Day preparing myself to participate in the body and blood of my Savior (1 Corinthians 10:16) by way of the Communion portion of the service, I was reading the passage of scripture found in 1John 1:7-9.
1John 1:7-9; (7) if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. (8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
“Why 1John 1:7-9 you may ask, for a passage to meditate on before taking Communion?” “What does this passage of Scripture have to do with Communion anyway?” Well, I believe it has everything to do with Communion. Allow me to explain my thoughts on this passage.
First off, Communion is not something I participate in to remember Jesus; I do so because I remember Him. For me, the Bible teaches that Communion is: 1) Covenant keeping (Luke 22:19; Jesus commanded, “This do”) and 2) Covenant renewal (John 6:56; “He that eateth (a continuing action) my flesh, and drinketh (also a continuing action) my blood dwelleth (also a continuing action) in me and I in Him”). By partaking every week, I’m telling Jesus that I want to continue in a Covenant relationship with Him and so I’m renewing that commitment I made when I was baptized into Christ, who is the New Covenant. So 1John 1:7-9 to me is steeped in Covenant, it is soaked in Covenant language, and it shouts Covenant in every word.
Why do I connect Covenant to Communion? That’s easy to understand and explain.
1) Jesus is the New Covenant, (Isaiah 42: 6 & 49:8) and 2) it is the blood of Jesus that is the blood of the New Covenant, (Matthew 26:28) and 3) His blood was shed for the forgiveness of my sins under the New Covenant, (Matthew 26:28) and 4) I must continually confess and repent of my sins to continually to be cleansed with His blood under this New Covenant. (Luke 13: 3&5) (1John 1:9) So, Communion is Covenant connected, or at least to the Covenant minded individual it is.
Here’s more: I feel that I would break the Covenant I entered into and was baptized into if I blatantly missed being at the Lord’s Table for any selfish earthly motives such as, 1) acting on the thought that I need a few extra winks of sleep on any given Lord’s Day, 2) on vacation and not feeling the need to concern myself with such spiritual matters, 3) I have company (house guests) and wouldn’t be a good host if I left them alone to go to church. Such willful actions on my part I feel would cause me to break fellowship with my Lord. For me, there are only two reasons to miss being around the Lord’s Table on the first day of each and every week: 1) Sickness, at which time I would have the bread and cup brought to me. Or 2) Being in a comatose state or dead. It’s just that important.
Let me put it this way and see if 1John 1:7-9 becomes any clearer. Using the Greek word, “koinonia” as translated from the Greek and used in the scriptures. 1Corinthians 10:16, a Communion Scripture, reads like this;
1) The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (koinonia) of the blood of Christ? KJV
2) Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation (koinonia) in the blood of Christ? NIV
3) Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing (koinonia) in the blood of Christ? NASB
This same word (koinonia) is translated “fellowship” in 1John 1:7b.
Thus, this passage could read:
…we have fellowship with one another…
…we have a sharing with one another…
…we have communion with one another…
…we have a participation with one another…
And still be 100% the true word of God.
Thus here’s my thinking when I read 1John 1:7-9.
If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, (that’s pure Covenant terminology: “walking in the light”) we have Communion (koinonia) with one another, (and while doing so) the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, (claiming we’re perfect and have nothing to repent of or confess) we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (Jesus is the truth; John14:6) But…If we confess our sins, He is faithful (1Corinthians 1:9; God is faithful) and just (He is the Justifier; Romans 3:26) to forgive us our sins (Ephesians1:7; redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins) and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (simply a rewording of the “cleanseth us from all sin” in verse #7)
There’s a very good reason God has told us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:25)
There’s a very good reason God calls it a sin to willfully do so. It’s in the next verse. (Hebrews 10:26)
It’s because when we do… we tread under foot the Son of God (Jesus’ body), count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing (Jesus’ blood), and do despite (insult) to the Holy Ghost, who prompts us to be there. (Hebrews 10:29)
In closing, I lovingly ask the question, “If we willfully ignore God on the Lord’s Day, and if we willfully show so little respect for the Lord’s Supper to willfully miss participating in it, do we think that the Almighty God of this entire universe just shrugs it off?
Or do we think that just maybe we have willfully broken fellowship with the One who is able to destroy both body and soul? (Matthew 10:28)
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)
Written in love…please receive it in the same manner.
In Christ through baptism, remaining in Christ through the Lord’s Supper. (Romans 6:3) (Galatians 3:27) (John 6:56)