Communion

KJVS
[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?

A good deal of the Christian world fails to understand completely or misunderstands the communion with the body and blood of Christ. Roman Catholicism views the bread and wine as the actual body and blood of Christ. There are a couple scripture verses that support this viewpoint , , , but there is also deeper spiritual truths associated with communion. Let’s read a definition of the Greek word translated into the English word communion.

Thayer’s Definition
1. fellowship, association, community, communion, joint
a.participation, intercourse
the share which one has in anything, participation
b. intercourse, fellowship, intimacy

The deeper significance of communion was given by our Lord himself.

KJVS
[53] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. [54] Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. [56] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

Dwelleth in me, and I in him. Later in the gospel of John he had this to say.

KJVS
[23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

I in them and the Father in Jesus brings to my mind a mental image of the layout of the tabernacle in the wilderness and Herod’s Temple. As a side note, the gospel of John is the most theological complete gospel, because it was written after Apostle Paul received the revelation of the mystery of God. Which is Christ in you the hope of glory, . Those two scriptures in John, clearly point to the mystery of God.

Apostle Paul in Ephesians write this.

KJVS
[30] For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. [31] For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. [32] This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

One aspect of being in Christ it that we sit in heavenly places in Christ.

KJVS
[5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Since we sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, this opens up even deeper aspects of the crucifixion of Christ. Number one is that we partake of his sacrifice in a living way.

KJVS
[1] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Number two is that our Lord’s death is our death in God’s eyes.
A key to begin to understand this is to see animal sacrifice in the way a Jew viewed it under the law. Thayer’s definition for the Greek word translated into the English word propitiation in .

a. used of the cover of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, which was sprinkled with the blood of the expiatory victim on the annual day of atonement (this rite signifying that the life of the people, the loss of which they had merited by their sins, was offered to God in the blood as the life of the victim, and that God by this ceremony was appeased and their sins expiated); hence the lid of expiation, the propitiatory

The sprinkling of our Lord’s blood represented OUR blood being shed in payment for the penalties of OUR sin, and as such, God is appeased, . But the offering of our Lord’s blood in heaven is for the forgiveness of sin past, once we are baptized into his death., . That is the true nature and meaning of a sin sacrifice. We are reconciled to God, through the body of his, Jesus, flesh through death, , precisely for that reason. More than a few times in the New Testament we are told that we are crucified with Christ, , . Are we not baptized into his death by water baptism, ? These are not just figures of speech but a firm reality. The tendency to put the sacrifice and offerings for sin by Jesus Christ largely in the past tense, and as a substitution for us, negates the power of the cross in our lives. Since we sit in heavenly places in Christ, and are dead in Christ, we can be judged by God, &28, , &32. A verse in Romans points to another dimension of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, which points to the destruction of the flesh.

KJVS
[6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him , that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

That the body of sin might be destroyed was one of the early scriptures along the trail of my understanding of the work of the cross more fully. The subject matter of this article, up to this point, did not start to become apparent to me until about 15 years ago. Much pain and suffering over the course of 34 years ultimately led to what I know now. Let me explain. In 1984 I was in a car accident and broke two vertebrae in my neck in three pieces each. I was paralyzed for ten days but by the grace of God I walked again but have been saddled with weakness and moderate to severe chronic pain due to nerve damage from a spinal cord injury. A couple of events prior to the accident were unusual and ultimately led to the writing of this website. A couple of weeks before the accident a verse kept running through my head while daydreaming. I was boning hams second shift at a meat packing plant. It was line work and you stood along a moving conveyor belt removing the hip bones from sawed of portions of hogs above and below the hip joint as they came down the belt. Then the piece of meat was made into a ham. Plenty of time to daydream in a eight hour shift. The scripture was from Colossians.

KJVS
[24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

I owned a hard copy of The Strong’s Concordance at the time and looked up the Greek word translated into the word behind and read that it meant lacking. A obvious question came to mind. What was lacking in the afflictions of Christ for his body’s sake? That question was a long time in being fully answered. The day of the accident a Christian woman called me and said she had a vivid dream the night before, in which I was involved in a car accident and was badly injured. She implored me to be careful. As the busy day progressed, the phone call slipped from my mind. Over a dozen hours later, I lay in a car that was upside down, paralyzed as a result of driving recklessly at a high rate of speed. Years later I came to realize the woman’s dream was prophetic. I was paralyzed for ten days and movement, sensation and strength slowly returned in the months ahead. Life became a struggle for me after that. It took three months of intensive Physical Therapy, while hospitalized, for me to be able to walk a hundred feet on my own. The left side of my body took a long time to return and to this day is weak with diminished movement and coordination. Raising two boys is demanding enough without a spinal cord injury. But while laying in bed paralyzed, I vowed to be responsible towards them and a loving father if the Lord would allow me to walk again. It was a effort for me as they grew older to coach baseball, go to sporting events and plays they were in, and the many parent teacher conferences. But as difficult as it was, it was very much a labor of love. We lived out in the country so thankfully there was little peer pressure from other kids. There are fewer bad influences on children who live in the country than children raised in the city. They are now in their 30’s, married with careers in software. One in engineering related software the other is a front end developer in webpage creation. It was not until they were in college that I again turned my attention to the study of scriptures. I had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost a couple years before the aforementioned car accident and it was a powerful experience, wherein I spoke in tongues. The two fused vertebrae from the 1984 injury to my neck were in bad shape and by the middle to late 90’s. There was 30% compression of my spinal cord from the warping of the two fused vertebrae from too much lifting over the years. As a result my whole body below that point tingled and burned. The surgeon preformed what is called a corpectomy and fused four vertebrae to correct this problem in 1997. He drilled and removed bone from the body of the two fused vertebrae to make more room for the spinal cord, inserted a cadaver bone to fill in some of the bone he removed and then screwed a plate made of titanium over the top, spanning C-4 to C-8. That procedure took 2 years to heal and I have been much weaker since. I spend a lot of time in bed and before I got a iPad I read the scriptures from a small vest pocket bible because it was light and easy to hold in my right or left hand. I can not read a full sized Bible or book in bed for any length of time without increasing pain and tingling. These small bibles have the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs in them. It has really been the last 15 years living alone that gave me the time to study the scriptures. Obviously the scriptures about suffering and afflictions jumped out at me in my daily reading and study of the Word. Due to reading from these vest pocket bibles I am well versed in the New Testament. I am a fast reader so I have read and continue reading the New Testament countless times, largely focusing on the epistles. Let me pick up where I left off with , now that I have given some background information that shows what motivated my study of the Word of God in light of suffering. That the body of sin might be destroyed brought questions to mind. What exactly did might be destroyed mean? How would the body of sin be destroyed? A good deal of Christian teachings does not definitively answer that question. I then noticed and after that became familiar with the importance of the mystery of God, Christ in you the hope of glory, in salvation. It took a long time, at least for me, to fill in the gaps. At night when pain kept me awake I would put verses together in my head and felt the unction, &27, of the Holy Ghost teaching me. Often times I disagreed with the Spirit because of the doctrines of man, , that had indoctrinated me in the past. It was slow going because what I was seeing in the scriptures was not present on the internet and at times I feared the direction I was going in was heresy. And yet scriptures kept propelling me forward. I lived largely in isolation with plenty of time to study and read the scriptures but I have now come to realize that you cannot really understand a scripture unless God has worked the understanding of what that verse means into you, &13. A lot of the time verses just stare back at you. Your just reading to be reading. And then there are times God does a mind trick on people that prevents them from understanding. Point in fact, the mystery of God, and scriptures related to the mystery.

KJVS
[26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
KJVS
[18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

God has to will a individual to know what is the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you the hope of glory. The knowledge pertaining to the word mystery points to when in time the Lord appears in the clouds and gathers his Saints unto himself at the seventh trumpet, &53, . But prior to that, you have to be equipped, made worth to reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, , by having your heart purified by faith and die to the lusts of the flesh. and Romans12:1, along with the many verses about suffering, all pointed to a aspect of theology that initially piqued my interest when I first noticed , just prior to the car accident that dramatically changed my life. Then verses in Hebrews grabbed my attention. The whole book of Hebrews is rife with symbolism surrounding Jesus Christ as the High Priest of the New Testament in contrast with the Old Testament tabernacle High Priest and the day of atonement sacrifice. I have read and studying verses in Hebrews countless times, especially the 10th chapter. Subject matter that many teachers of the law and other men misunderstand and misinterpret, . Specifically interpreting types and shadows of the OT tabernacle and applying them to NT theology, erroneously using them to show how we are to approach God.

KJVS
[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. [10] We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. [11] For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. [12] Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. [13] Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. [14] For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

There was a altar outside the camp of the tribes of Israel in the wilderness and then outside of the ceremonial clean area surrounding Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem, where the bodies of the various sin sacrifices were burned because they were considered unclean. This altar is only indirectly mentioned one other time in the NT.

KJVS
[13] For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: [14] How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Purge your moral conscience from dead works points to , it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace, not by any works of righteousness which we have done. I view Jesus offering himself without spot to God in concert with the following verses.

KJVS
[27] And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: [28] So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
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[14] For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
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[21] 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.
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[10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. [11] For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
KJVS
[10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all .

Few Christians are aware of the symbolism involving the offering of the body of a sin sacrifice on a altar outside the camp. I view the body prepared for Jesus Christ in He10:5, as the body of Christ. Those who were known in him before the foundation of the world, . By extension the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the offering of his blood and body represent our blood and body, due to the fact we in him, , . There again in is the word mystery, pointing to the union of Jesus Christ with his body the church. The Christ in you hope of glory. The types and shadows one can draw largely from within the book of Hebrews regarding the law, need to be governed by .

KJVS
[1] For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

You have to be careful of how you extrapolate meaning from types and shadow of the Old Testament Law and apply them to New Testament theology. Because these types and shadows from the law are not the very image of the sacrifice and offerings for sin that Jesus Christ was and is. Obviously there is no actual altar where the collective body of sin, of the body of Christ, is being burned up by fire. There need not be because of . There are a few verses that mention fire as a symbol in connection with sanctification.

KJVS
[11] I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

The chaff is a metaphor for the flesh. The sufferings in life is the fire.

KJVS
[12] Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: [13] But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

This verse points to the partaking that the body of Christ have in the sufferings of Christ. Apostle Paul in the verses pasted below, calls it the fellowship of his suffering and the word fellowship is translated from the same Greek word that is translated into the word communion in . Which is the verse I used to start this article.

KJVS
[10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; [11] If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

The aim or goal of suffering is given not only by Apostle Peter but also by Apostle Paul. Ceasing from sin and denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.

KJVS
[1] Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; [2] That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
KJVS
[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The Greek word translated into the English word teaching in verse 12 is also translated into the different forms of chastise as these words appear in the New Testament. Chastisement involves suffering.

KJVS
[30] For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. [31] For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. [32] But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

KJVS
[6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [7] If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? [11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

God scourges the sons he loves and all the powers that be in this world are of God, . If you do wrong they do not bear the sword in vain. So chastisement by God may or may not appear to be coming directly from him. It can come from civil authorities for you amendment. It took me over 20 years to realize that the car accident in which I was so badly hurt in, was a chastisement by God. I was driving much faster than the posted speed limit, listening to hard rock music. Extremely irresponsible for a man with a wife and two sons. There were other, personal things, going on in my life that the small still voice of the Spirit was cautioning me to stop that I ignored. If it sounds like I am being too hard on myself, I am not. There is One who can be very hard on us for a very good reason.

KJVS
[28] Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: [29] For our God is a consuming fire.

This article is just a bare bones approach in showing the role suffering plays in salvation. The first nine articles on the home page goes into deeper detail regarding this matter. Ideally they should be read in the order. There are articles that follow after these articles that delve into other aspects of New Testament doctrine.