Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. The one feeding on my flesh and drinking my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. The one feeding on my flesh and drinking my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one feeding on me, he also will live because of me.’”
Unless You Eat and Drink
To eat of something is also to partake of it, and to partake of something is to share in it, to participate in it, to become a member of and to have a share of or in something. It involves joining in with and contributing to and involving yourself in something, to take part, to play a part, and to involve yourself in it. So this is not an activity whereby you stand on the sidelines and just become an observer. You are fully involved in this.
A parallel passage of Scripture to this is found in 1 Corinthians 10. It begins with a reminder of what happened with the children of Israel during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. With most of them God was not pleased and so they were overthrown in the wilderness. For many of them were idolaters, sexually immoral, rabble rousers, revelers, those who put God to the test, and grumblers against God. They did not enter his rest.
These things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. And they were written down for our instruction so that, if we think we are standing, we should take heed lest we fall. For no temptation has overtaken us that is not common to man. And if we are in Christ by genuine faith in Jesus, God is faithful, and he will not let us be tempted beyond our ability (in him), but with the temptation he will provide a way of escape.
Then there is the warning to flee from idolatry followed by instructions in the taking of communion, but which goes beyond just the formality of remembering Jesus’ death and resurrection. This has to do with our participation with Christ in his death and resurrection, which is evidenced by what is taught right before this. This is about us dying with Christ to sin and us being resurrected with Christ to walk in newness of life in him.
Our participation in the blood of Christ (drinking of his blood), and our participation in the body of Christ (eating Christ’s flesh) is not a formality we go through in a communion service alone. This is talking about our participation with Christ in his putting sin to death, and in his resurrection, which for us is to walk in newness of life in him. This is about our salvation, in other words. This is about us dying to sin and living to righteousness.
And then it goes on to warn us that we cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons, too. We cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? No! What this is letting us know is that to be joined together with Christ by faith in him is to die with him to sin and to live to him and to his righteousness and it is to cease to live in sin but to obey our Lord, instead.
Life or No Life?
If we do not participate with Christ in death to sin and in living to God and to his righteousness, we have no life in us. But if we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and if we walk in obedience to his commands and no longer in deliberate and habitual sin, then we have eternal life with God provided that we continue in those walks of faith until the very end of time, until Jesus returns to take his bride to be with him.
This is the clear message both in John 6 and in 1 Corinthians 10 and in many other passages of Scripture in the New Testament, which will be noted here. What Jesus is saying here in John 6 is that unless we die with him to sin and unless we share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and in his resurrection, we have no part in him. We can’t just pray a prayer to receive Christ and then we are good to go.
We can’t just make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and then think all our sins are now forgiven and heaven is guaranteed us when we die and so our sins no longer matter to God. Read the whole of the New Testament! Our present sins do indeed matter to God, especially if they are deliberate and habitual and premeditated. For if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin we will not inherit eternal life with God no matter what we profess.
Our God is a God of love and grace and mercy, indeed. But he has set down boundaries for us to follow, and he has drawn the line in the sand, and he has said that if we cross over that line that we have no part in him. And the dividing line he teaches is on one side walking in obedience to his commands and dying with him to sin daily, and on the other side is continuing in deliberate and habitual sin in open rebellion against God.
Therefore, you can’t profess faith in Jesus Christ and assume God is on your side and that heaven is guaranteed you and that God is forgiving all your sins if you continue in a life of sin against him deliberately and without true remorse or repentance. He does not forgive your sins if you choose to continue to live in rebellion against him and if there has been no sustained turnabout in your life in the opposite direction.
Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and to self), and follow (obey) him. For if you hold on to your old life of living in sin and for self, you will lose it for eternity. But if for Christ’s sake you die to sin and to self then you will live with him for eternity. For Jesus also said that not everyone saying to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Luke 9:23-26; Matt 7:21-23).
[Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24]
Near the Cross
Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
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