An exclusive club in New York refused membership to a man because he was Jewish. A minister who belonged to the club denounced this from his pulpit as “morally reprehensible.” Shock waves rippled down the aisles, because many church members belonged to that club. The pastor then added, “Anyone who has in any way—by thought, word, or deed—condoned this action is not welcome to receive Holy Communion until he has worked out his own peace with God.”

The pastor had biblical support for his insistence that no one should come to the Lord’s Table with unconfessed sin. In 1 Corinthians 11, the apostle Paul confronted some church members who needed to recognize their selfish, divisive attitudes and confess them as sin (vv.18,21). He urged them to pause for serious self-examination before participating in the joyous celebration of the complete forgiveness Jesus secured for us by His sacrificial death.

The principle still applies today. Anything that has come between us and our Savior must be identified and confessed before we partake of the Lord’s Supper. The bread and the cup then give fresh meaning to the forgiveness that is assured us by the shed blood of our Savior.