The blog “Shameless Popery” is a typical RC “apologist” website – glib fanatics ever explaining away and excusing the unscriptural traditions of Rome with specious arguments and appeals to prejudice and to their church’s authority. RC apologists are not perplexed at being unable to defeat Bible-truth because that isn’t their aim. It is only necessary that they invent plausible seeming rebuttals to otherwise unanswerable declarations from Holy Scripture. This thin cover gives wavering papists the reassurance they need to remain unconverted to Bible Christianity.
Shameless Popery tries to specialize in creatively accusing Protestants of somehow being guilty of the very thing pinned on the Roman Catholics. So their articles always sound like this: “Protestants, by failing to bow down to little wooden statues of the Virgin Mary [etc], are ironically the real idolaters because ….” with some absurd reasoning appended that nobody ever dared suggest before (for obvious reasons).
As the criminal defence attorney advised his mafia clients: admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations!
Pretty little pictures.
Their blog always imbeds into their articles attractive Renaissance artwork, which isn’t a fault by itself – but apparently some of their lazy subscribers only look at the pretty pictures and don’t bother to read. This was evident from responses to a comment I left on the post, “Does the Real Presence Violate the Old Testament Law?“
I pointed out several flaws in the article, including the fact that its author (Joe H.) obviously didn’t realize that eating blood was also a New Testament prohibition, that he had blasphemously accused the Lord Jesus Christ of committing sin (i.e., of breaking the “letter of the law” by gleaning on the sabbath day, not washing his hands before he ate, and hanging on a tree – none of which was specifically forbidden in the letter of the mosaic law), that Roman Catholics do not actually take John chapter 6 literally – they metaphorically apply it to their Eucharist ritual, and that eating blood is not a metaphor urging Christians to kill Christ (God forbid!), but that the so-called Mass where a sacrifice of blood is eaten is identified in the Bible as pertaining to devilish paganism (Psalm 16:4 and 1 Cor 10:20).
Shameless Popery’s ignorant toadies replied to my comment by absurdly accusing me of not “engaging” with Joe’s argument! Honest to goodness, that is really what they wrote. When Bible-truth was presented before their eyes, they went into apoplectic shell-shock screaming, “diatribe! diatribe!” Simply disgraceful.
That pitiful exchange prompts me to cast out a life-line now to any confused Roman Catholic who is genuinely open to the truth of scripture, yet remains in error concerning the RC Eucharist ritual.
This topic has caused no small amount of controversy and confusion in nearly every church, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and others.
The Roman Church burned people at the stake who would not confess that the body, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ was in the priest’s wafer. It is difficult to imagine the wild depths of fanaticism historically present in the Roman Catholic religion that they conscientiously tortured and burned many God-fearing Christians to death, including women and small children, for failure to agree on this point of doctrine.
Such insane levels of prejudice cannot be easily overcome. Even the saintly Bible scholar Martin Luther, although his scriptural understandings matured in many areas over time, struggled to free himself from the Eucharistic superstition, and failed.
But if we are to know the matter truly, then we cannot concern ourselves with historical traditions and the teachings of men. Rather, we want to know what the Bible says, in context, and in harmony with itself. By Bible we mean the Authorized King James Version. Don’t take the following exposition – or anybody else’s – as true or false until you have carefully double-checked everything against that Book.
A Trinity of Passages.
There are 3 main areas of scripture that directly pertain to the issue of Holy Communion:
- Christ’s sayings to the Jews in John chapter Six – e.g., verses 54-55: “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.“
- The Last Supper, recorded in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22, e.g., Luke 22:19-20 “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.“
- St. Paul’s exposition in 1 Corinthians 10 and 11. For example, 10:16, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” and 11:29 “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.“
The quoted snippets are for reference only; we obviously must analyse them further in their entire contexts, which we will do, time permitting.
What Sacramentalist think.
What logic does the Roman Catholic follow from the three passages given above in order to justify his views concerning the Eucharist? This is not our view, but what a typical sacramentalist would argue:
According to John 6 we are suppose to eat and drink the Lord’s body and blood for salvation, therefore he must somehow provide such items as literal food for his followers. Later, at the Lord’s Supper, he demonstrated this food by asking his disciples to eat and drink his body and blood which he gave to them in the form of wine and bread. Since Christ told the disciples to repeat that ceremony after his death, he must have granted the apostles power to thereafter also transform wine and bread into the literal blood and body of Christ. How could it not be literal when even Paul tells the Corinthians that communion entails the blood of Christ and body of Christ? and warns them that they need to “discern” the Lord’s body? Therefore we must disbelieve our own observation which tells us that the wine and bread remain unchanged. They do not appear to have changed to blood and wine, but we are simply to believe otherwise.
Further, when the apostles ordained men for church leadership and as successors, they must have conferred upon them the same power to create Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist. Since Christ said at the Last Supper that the body and blood would show his death, the Eucharist ceremony must be sacrificial, and therefore the men who are ordained to administer it must be priests.
That summarizes the “scriptural based reasoning” for believing in the so-called Eucharist, and all it entails, including such things as a priesthood, a sacrifice, real blood, real flesh, and transubstantiation (or consubstantiation).
However, this narrative also raises some concerns and contradictions.
1. The New Testament commissions all Christians as priests, yet this narrative gives a religious hierarchy of so-called “priests” a monopoly over man’s salvation by Jesus Christ.
2. The form of bread used by Roman Catholics does not resemble unleavened Jewish flat bread, but rather a sun-shaped wafer disc that bears an uncanny resemblance to those used in the rites of the sun worshipping pagans of ancient Rome.
3. If the Eucharist is an unbloody sacrifice then it is the ineffective sacrifice of Cain (Genesis 4:3, Hebrews 9:22); if it is a bloody one then why does it repeat Christ’s once only sacrifice on the cross (e.g., Hebrews 7:27; 9:26; 10:12), which he said was “finished” (John 19:30)?
4. Christ said that those who “eat” him have eternal life (e.g., John 6:58), yet Roman Catholics who eat the Eucharist daily or weekly still deny having any assurance that they have eternal life.
5. If Christ gave the Eucharist to be eaten, why do Catholics instead put it in a little golden shrine and spend hours and days worshipping it in an idolatrous manner. The Bible says, “flee from idolatry.” (1 Cor 10:14) and “keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).
6. Christ is the third person of the Godhead, and therefore spiritually omnipresent (John 3:13), yet by the mystery of the incarnation his physical human body is manifestly only in one place at one time (e.g., “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” John 16:7).
The location of Christ’s body is at the right hand of God, and therefore he cannot be present in wafers on the earth. (e.g., “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1; “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight….. Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9,11.)
7. The Eucharist purports to be Christ’s body of flesh, but this is not possible because that body has since been changed by the resurrection into a glorified body that cannot die. (“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” 2 Cor 5:16.; “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Rev 1:18; See also, 1 Corinthians 15:42-46.)
8. Christ said that the heart is not changed by eating food: “…whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?” Mark 7:18-19. So according to Christ the eaten Eucharist must leave the body as dung – how then can it save anyone? Paul said, “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink” Romans 14:17.
9. It is paganism to give spiritual significance to inanimate objects, and gentile sacrifices involve demonism (1 Cor 10:20-21).
10. If the Eucharist truly entailed eating blood, it would be in violation of the clear commands of scripture (Gen 9:4; Deut. 12:23) including in the New Testament after the alleged Eucharist was given (Acts 15:20,29).
11. The Ceremony of Mass, performed by any priest, no matter how sinful of a reprobate he may be, is said to effect forgiveness of sins on not only the living but also the dead, and that without need for belief or faith by any of them! (Contrast, Hebrews 7:27; 9:27; and 11:6).
There are countless more difficulties and absurdities that attend the notion that Jesus Christ wanted a special class of priests to daily sacrifice his body and blood in the form of wafers and wine as the means for imparting eternal life to mankind. The historic 39 Articles of the Church of England aptly state, “The sacrifices of the Mass are most blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.”
Sacramentalists offer many excuses to explain away these problems, but it isn’t worth rehearsing them. They simply simultaneously believe contrary ideas contrary to human reason:
It is and isn’t a sacrifice; it is and isn’t bloody; it is and isn’t a repeat of Calvary; it is and isn’t an immolated victim; it requires and doesn’t require a priest; it gives and doesn’t give eternal life; etc. etc.
Reconciling these contrary ideas is obviously impossible. It is a waste of time to disprove any part of their notion as contrary to the Bible, because they will then assert that a “correct understanding Catholic teaching” is the opposite. Disprove that opposite proposition, and once again you will be accused that “you do not understand Catholic teaching” which is the opposite, and back you are right where you started. So what is the correct Catholic teaching? It is whatever they want it to be at any given time. The papist’s nonsense loop goes round and round in an endless cycle.
Their only honest confession would be that they just decided to embrace Catholic teachings, despite the contractions, as an act of faith without knowing why. (An unfortunate mistake in judgment.)
Is there hope for the Sacrmentalist?
So I will try to climb up with the ladder of truth, sneak up on their blindside, and see if I can’t catch one or two of them before they fall forever into the devil’s clutches.
So let’s change the subject entirely for a moment.
A few “trinities”
The first Trinity is that there are 3 different ways to read any part of scripture: Historically, Doctrinally, and Spiritually.
1. Historical: these are the actual circumstances that transpired when the scripture was given. All parts of the Bible have a historical context: A psalm composed by David during his life, a prophecy given by Jeremiah, A letter written by Saint Paul.
It is an an error to deny the historical account of scripture since they bear record to the miraculous imposition of God into the history of man, proving his existence and validating his special revelation of his words to Jewish prophets and apostles.
It is also an error to contextualize the Bible solely with historical notions – making everything it says limited by our ideas about ancient culture and society, and using things like archaeology and the outside events of secular history. That would mistakenly view the Creator of the World who revealed himself to the Jews as if he was a mere “tribal deity,” and as if his inspired prophets were merely “expressive poets” who wrote from the limited vantage point of their own feelings, emotions, and circumstances.
2. Doctrinal: These are the teachings of scripture which have literal binding application on certain people at certain times. For example, Noah was told to build an ark and bring animals into it (Genesis 6:14-20). Those words were doctrinal for Noah, but they have no doctrinal application to us today – we are not suppose to do what God told him to do.
To apply Bible doctrine correctly one must properly divide passages into appropriate categories, giving heed to the fact that Biblical revelation transpired over a long period of time. Although some divisions are quite obvious, like the division between the New Testament and the Old Testament, others require careful examination; they are the work of careful study: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Tim 2:15.
It is an error to take scriptural passages that doctrinally apply to one (person, group, time) and assert that they must apply to another, unless both are in the same situation, or the doctrine is a universal concept. Where doctrines contradict, the doctrine that applies to you takes precedence.
The Bible completed with John’s book of Revelation, yet it is an eternal document for God’s Kingdom, and therefore some of it is doctrine that applies at a future time. (Col 2:17; Rev. 22:14).
The binding doctrine that takes precedence for church-age Christians is in St. Paul’s epistles because he is the apostle to the gentile Church. (1 Cor 4:16)
3. Spiritual: No matter what the doctrinal application is, all scripture has spiritual application. For example, we can all learn from Noah the importance of being in Christ, the ark of salvation. Spiritual application uses the Bible for learning, comfort, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (Romans 15:4; 1 Tim 3:16).
It is an error to spiritualize away the doctrinal application of a text that is binding on you. It is an error to spiritualize any part of the Bible without reference to every other part (making sure there is harmony).
Where did you get this?
In Luke 4:19-20 Jesus Christ read to the synagogue from Isaiah 61:2 one half of a verse: “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” and then he closed the book. Christ stopped without reading the remainder of that verse “… , and the day of vengeance of our God…” He divided the doctrinal application of the verse into two parts, only one of which was fulfilled at that time. Christ said to them, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Luke 4:21. But the part that was fulfilled was only the first part – the second half, pertaining to the day of wrath, awaits future doctrinal application at the time of the second advent.
So we can see that right division of scripture is a careful matter that might even come down to a doctrinal division within a single verse. Thankfully most of the issues in the Bible are not so difficult to understand.
Another trinity: Man.
Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and therefore he also is a sort of trinity. Man’s “trinity” is his three parts – the Body, Soul, and Spirit.
This verse that describes how God did that:
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7.
Dust of the ground = Body
Breath of life = Spirit
a living man = Soul
All three parts are mentioned in this verse:
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thess. 5:23
This matter of what makes up a man is not a trivial topic. It is absolutely crucial we understand who we are!
Imagine the abject foolishness of people like psychiatrists, theologians, social planners, the United Nations, the educators, and other do-gooder humanitarians trying to solve man’s problems when they don’t even know what a man is?!
It is crucial that the student of the Bible study and learn from the scriptures what is the difference between man’s body, soul, and spirit – and to always keep these differences in mind to avoid misapplying a scripture to the wrong part of man.
Differences are the Key.
People who can’t discriminate are insane.
If you can’t discriminate between a red light and the green light, then please stay off the road – you are danger to yourself and everybody else. If you can’t discriminate between a box of corn flakes and a box of nails, then don’t pour anybody’s breakfast but your own – and don’t ask up to help pay your dental bills.
If you can’t rightly discriminate between the body, soul, and spirit – or between Old Testament and New Testament – or between scriptural applications that are historical, doctrinal, or spiritual – or between the Church Age, the Millennium, and Eternity – or rightly divide any other important differences that are found throughout the Bible – then not only are you going to have a confused, insane, and irrational theology – but you will also lead into the ditch anybody stupid enough to follow you.
When a papists insists that according to his theology certain irreconcilable things are simultaneously true, you know you are dealing with somebody who pushed two or more things together that actually belong apart.
Any study of the Bible that fails to recognize differences is doomed.
Examples applying differences.
There are going to be those who have never even heard of “rightly dividing” before, and will need to see a few examples of this in practice before they are prepared to return where we started and rightly divide the scriptural differences inherent in the statements Jesus Christ made about the Communion. We will do that. But the examples will also be substantive – what they teach will also help clarify the Eucharist issue.
Man’s Body, Soul, Spirit at death.
At death the parts of man separate.
Body of flesh turns to dust:
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19.
Man’s human spirit, being that force that gave his body life, and akin to air, is exhaled and returns to God:
“Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” Ecclesiastes 3:21.
“The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” Job 33:4.
“Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” Ezek. 37:9.
“If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” Job 34:15.
Then the soul exits from the body:
“And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.” Genesis 35:18.
The body, like decaying wood, returns to dust, the spirit, like a puff of air, returns to God, but where does a man’s soul go after it departs from the body? The soul of men goes right were gravity pulls it – viz., to the centre of the earth. However, certain souls, being free of the weight of sin (either by their own mental simplicity – such as babies, or having obtained God’s forgiveness – such as the saints in Old Testament), do not fall into the very pit of hell, but are carried aside by holy angels and placed to rest in a separate quiet oasis nearby.
This is illustrated by Christ’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus:
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” Luke 16:22-23.
Because Lazarus was resting under Abraham’s arm in this parable, place is commonly called “Abraham’s bosom” – but Christ identified it as “paradise” to the thief on the cross:
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43.
Jesus was speaking to him of the next three days that they would spend in the heart of the earth:
“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40.
Christ was speaking of his soul being the heart of the earth, for his body was place in the tomb (Matthew 26:58-60) and his human spirit returned to God (“And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” Luke 23:46).
After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ a new phenomenon was introduced to the human race: souls that never see death.
Prior to Christ all souls had to go into the realms of death in the heart of the earth. Some waited in hell itself, others in paradise. But neither group had the liberty to get out of death. Those who died in their sins were held fast in the place of torment (hell) awaiting the great day of final judgment (when they will be cast into the lake of fire). Those who died either as innocent children or with their sins forgiven, also were held fast by death in the quiet realm of paradise. This is because despite the fact that God forgave them because they did the best they could to obtain God’s forgiveness (by their faith and good works), their sin were not actually paid for as of yet. They remained unredeemed.
Forgiveness and Redemption are two different things. God had remitted their sins on the basis of their feeble but sincere efforts to please him, but good works can’t undo the commission of sin – thus God could not set their souls free from death until justice was done: and he did it by making the payment for sin on their behalf. So when Jesus Christ died as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, he paid for all the previously remitted sins of the forgiven saints in paradise, and now those souls could be freed from their captivity in death:
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” Romans 3:25.
The verse is saying that men’s sins were simply remitted in the Old Testament past, but now they have actually paid for by the blood of Christ. So God shows himself not to be unjust by forgiving sinners then or now, because God has paid for sins in Christ Jesus. And from now on henceforth God can freely grant to all men by Christ Jesus both forgiveness of sin and redemption – together at the same time – through faith alone in the blood of Christ.
“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” Ephesians 4:8-10.
So the souls of Old Testament saints had to wait a long delay in death in the heart of the earth until redemption was accomplished by Jesus Christ; once that occurred Christ was able to re-captured them from their captivity in death and set them free, taking their souls with him up to heaven.
From that time (around 33 AD) until now, the gospel of salvation has been preached, proclaiming this simple message:
Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again.
That message is the gospel of New Testament salvation:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand … how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15:1,3-4.
The gospel preached now says that because sins have been paid – redemption and forgiveness of sin are both immediately available by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus men’s souls no longer need to see death at all – they can immediately possess eternal life.
So it is fundamentally different when a Christian dies because his soul departs to be with Christ in heaven.The Christian’s soul never sees death because it has been placed into Christ and thus, “we have passed from death unto life.” 1 John 3:14.
“But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:” 2 Timothy 1:10.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2.
However the damned remain in their sin. The souls of those who die without receiving the new birth offered by Jesus Christ must descend down to into hell, awaiting final judgment for their sins.
Salvation – PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE.
As there are 3 parts to man, there are 3 stages to his salvation. He is saved, will be saved, and is being saved daily.
Saved: Upon trusting Christ the man’s soul is saved. This is past-tense salvation – it is a completed act that entails the supernatural work of the Holy Ghost upon the soul of a man. By God’s decree, based on the work of Christ, the soul that trust Christ is forgiven, redeemed, and sanctified with God’s righteousness.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
The soul is cut loose by the Holy Spirit from the human body of flesh: “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:” Col. 2:11.
That spiritual circumcision just cited enables the man’s soul to be divorced from his human body and wrapped in a preserving seal of the Holy Ghost – gaining the status of being “in Christ” – and the soul will remain enveloped like that for all eternity.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” Romans 7:4
[i.e., your soul divorces your human body of fleshly decay and marries - first by the Holy Spirit, and later literally on the Day of our Resurrection - into the glorious body of Jesus Christ.]
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13.
“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” 2 Corinthians 1:22.
Because of these things, the soul of a Christian is saved – past tense – because the soul is now in Christ.
The Christian’s human body is still unsaved – it remains just in bondage to death and decay and sin as ever before; it must await a certain future salvation that entail being changed into an immortal body like Christ’s risen body:
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13.
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3:20-21.
So the Christian’s body is essentially unsaved as of yet – but it is needful to discipline it to live without sin in order to avoid the earthly consequences of sin which are many. Sin in the body brings misery and ruin and death to the human body – but it cannot cause a loss of the saved soul’s salvation which is secure in Jesus Christ. The sinful acts of the body are no longer imputed to the saved man’s soul: “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Romans 4:8.
The daily salvation pertains to the Christian’s human spirit which is renewed in his mind and heart by maintaining communion with the Spirit of God.
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16.
“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:23-24.
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Col. 3:10.
So every day it is needful to have the Christian’s human spirit renewed by the Holy Spirit. Good ways to do that is with Bible reading, Christian fellowship, and music:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Col. 3:16.
So the human spirit, although in a saved man, cannot maintain its own steadfastness and joy without being renewed daily by a work of God. This is why saved people very often don’t feel saved at all.
In fact, sin in the life of a believer will break fellowship with God and leave the man in a state of earthly condemnation.
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” 1 John 1:6.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1.
When a Christian sins, he puts his body into condemnation in this life and he breaks his fellowship with God in his human spirit. But, to repeat: he does not lose his soul! The sin is not imputed to the soul because the soul is sealed in Christ.
To repair the breach of fellowship the Christian needs to repent to God and ask forgiveness, pleading the blood of Christ:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
The Eucharistic Passages.
Knowing then these things about the application of scriptural passages, about the make-up of a man, and about the nature of the new-birth wrought in Christ, and the three tenses of salvation, its time to circle back around and tackle the Eucharistic passages.
First meaning. 1. The Literal/Historical meaning of Christ giving his body and blood for the world was the Cross of Calvary. It happened in 33 AD and is past. It is only by faith in this literal one-time sacrifice that a man is justified before God and gets a saved soul.
Second meaning. 2. The Spiritual/Present meaning of Christ giving his body and blood is the daily forgiveness and renewal which the Christian ever has whenever he encounters sin walking along the pilgrim pathway. This cleansing is for the body and spirit. It is present tense. The communion meal demonstrates what Christ did on Calvary and so is an apt opportunity to restore spiritual fellowship with God. It is not the only opportunity to do so – one can, and should, pray for forgiveness of body and restoration of spirit whenever the need arises – but nevertheless the communal eating of bread and grape juice together is a meaningful time when and where such restoration and thankfulness is enjoined. To take Communion without first restoring fellowship with God by personal contrition and looking to Calvary for forgiveness is a brazen act. Even though the man is saved, such effrontery will be punished by God.
Third meaning: 3. The doctrinal/future application of partaking of Christ’s body applies when Christians get a new physical immortal body from Christ’s very own glorified body. This will entail a transformation of the remains of our old bodies into a new body fashioned from Christ’s. Of course, how this happens is as yet mysterious – although the powerful fuse that will trigger this change has already been implanted into every Christian (“as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,” John 1:12).
Future meaning for others.
The spiritual application of Communion differs for generations of humans born to saved nations after the Church-age. Their natural bodies will have everlasting life as long as they are permitted to enter into the New Jerusalem every month to eat from the tree of life and drink of the river of life – an opportunity only made possible for them by keeping the commandments of God and begging the grace of Christ’s blood atonement at Calvary which gives them forgiveness of sins. (Rev. 21:6,17; 22:2,14-15; 2:7).
It took a comprehensive study of the scriptures to properly divide the differences in meaning and application of Communion. An unsaved and lazy pagan would simply pretend all meanings overlap and create a magpies nest of incoherent nonsense where a piece of bread is worshipped and getting tipsy drinking a glass of rosé from a golden cup confers eternal life!
That is why there isn’t one Roman Catholic bishop, arch-bishop, cardinal, or pope who could understand the least bit of what we have just explained from the scriptures: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14.