Galatians 3:13-14 (NKJV) 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
As we have considered communion, we have determined several things. First, Jesus never instituted anything that was just as religion or tradition. He brought life. He was very clear about this as he spoke to the Pharisees.
Matthew 15:6 (NKJV) 6 then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.
We have been talking about the Jewish Passover which was the Old Covenant meal. The covenant had been in place for many years before the Passover. Israel’s identity flowed from the covenant that God made with Abraham. However, under Moses Israel needed more than just to be identified with Abraham’s covenant. That identification was producing bondage because the Egyptians feared it. They needed the power of the covenant to be delivered.
God told them to sacrifice of a spotless lamb. They were to put the blood of the sacrifice on the doorposts and lintel of their homes. Anyone who had the blood on their house would not suffer the 10th plague, death of the firstborn. It made no difference if they were Hebrew or Egyptian. Each had to choose to obey for themselves. No one could do it for them.
They were also told to eat the offering. However, there were specific instructions as to how they were to eat it. They were to eat it by faith in that they had to be ready to leave in the morning. There was no indication that they were going anywhere but the covenant meal had to be eaten in faith so the power of the covenant would bring about their deliverance.
Communion serves the same purpose as Passover. We are identified with the covenant because we received Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV) 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Every covenant has a covenant meal. Jesus understood this and gave us communion. The first thing that we do in communion is reaffirm our identification with the covenant. In receiving what Jesus gave to them, the disciples were identified with Jesus by covenant. They were identified with him already because they were his followers and everyone knew that to be true. However, the covenant meal was a legal identification. This legality was not in the realm of the natural. It was in the realm of the spirit. From that moment, Satan knew that they were in legal covenant with God in the blood of Jesus.
When we received Jesus as Lord and Savior, we were also identified with him and he with us. That is a spiritual reality. God knows it, the devil knows it and we need to understand it. When we celebrate communion, we are legally reaffirming our legal connection to Jesus. When I take the bread and the “wine” I am saying to the world, my flesh and the devil, “I belong to Jesus. I am legally his and he is legally mine. All that I am belongs to him and all that he is belongs to me.” That is what covenant means.
The Passover did the same thing but it did something else as well. God was going to unleash the full power of the covenant. He was about to prove that “He was their God and they were His people.” This required that they do more than just affirm their covenant relationship. They had to put weight on it. This was not just about identification it was about power. They were accessing the terms of the covenant by faith.
By putting the blood on the lintel and doorposts of their house they were declaring their legal identity. By eating the covenant meal packed and ready to reap the benefits of the covenant, they were exercising their faith in their covenant partner, Almighty God. That is exactly what we should be doing when we receive communion.
Communion is the covenant meal of the “New Covenant in the blood of Jesus.” There is a great deal of difference between the new and old covenants. Nevertheless, both are covenants. Certain things are the same. When we receive communion, it cannot be just a religious or traditional duty. It must be understood that the universe is watching us. We are declaring that we are in covenant with God in Jesus Christ. We are also accessing the blessing of that covenant by faith every time we do it.
How than should we receive communion. We should remember the sacrifice of Jesus. As we partake of the bread, we should remember his body that was broken for us. The bible tells us in Isaiah 53 and in 1 Peter 2:24 that we are healed by the stripes on his body.
He paid that we might have legal access to healing by submitting to the physical torture. Today’s scripture tells us that he redeemed us from the curse of the law that we might receive the blessing of Abraham. This blessing is described in many places but the most complete may be found in Deuteronomy 28. We should read it. In addition to healing, I believe that all of these blessings were legally purchased for us in Jesus’ physical suffering.
More important that the physical blessing is the forgiveness of our iniquity. That was purchased by the shed blood of Christ. His blood allows the Father to forgive our individual sins. Every sin we have ever committed is forgiven. That is a wonderful promise but it is not the best part. Jesus also dealt with our iniquities. Iniquity is the nature that causes us to sin. We were by nature children of wrath but Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection paid for the iniquity that changed our nature in the fall (Ephesians 2:3.)
If I will receive communion by faith understanding that the benefits of these two dimensions of Jesus’ sacrifice are mine by covenant, communion can become something powerful in my life. As I receive the symbol of Jesus’ broken body, the bread, I consciously receive by faith all that he bought for me with that sacrifice. I am legally healed, delivered and blessed in life by what he did.
As I receive the “wine” that represents his blood I remember the terrible price he had to pay for my forgiveness. I receive that forgiveness by faith and the realization of what he did moves me to walk in righteousness. How can I continue to sin when I know what he paid to buy my forgiveness? We all fail but if we use communion as a time to really remember what our covenant cost and when we receive the power of the covenant by faith it becomes a vital tool to help us walk in both purity and power.
One other thing that Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 is that communion is a celebration of the vital union we share in the body of Christ. I am part of you and you are part of me. We are all members of this covenant in Christ Jesus. When I receive communion, I must remember that. I cannot harm or hate another member of my covenant with God.
The next time you receive communion in your local church, look around. The people there are covenant brothers and sisters. You all enjoy the benefits of a covenant relationship with almighty God through the blood of Jesus. Do not let your mind wander to what you may be having for dinner. This is not religion. It is life