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  • John Lineberry

The Meaning of Communion

The term communion comes from the Greek word koinonia. It means association, communion,

fellowship, close relationship. The word is used of the marriage relationship, the most intimate between human beings.

Communion is a time of fellowship with believers. We reflect upon what the Lord has done for us and what He means to us. He has redeemed us by His blood and saved us by His grace (1Peter 1:18-19; Ephesians 2:8-10).

The apostolic doxology has the term communion/fellowship in it. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship (communion) of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (1 Cor. 13:14). The word "communion" is also used of our fellowship with the Lord Jesus. " God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship (communion) of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor 1:9)

The elements of communion:

  • Bread

  • The unleavened bread symbolizes Christ's body. It represents His perfect life that He willingly sacrificed for us.

  • And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. 1 Cor 11;24

  • Fruit of the vine

  • This symbolizes Christ's blood. He willingly shed His blood for us.

  • Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22

The elements are pictures of Christ's body and blood. When the believer trusts Christ for salvation, he symbolically partakes of the body and blood of Christ. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).

Communion has significant spiritual benefits for believers.

  • There is cleansing for the believer in confession. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

  • Christ's death and coming again are remembered and proclaimed. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Cor 11:26

  • The anticipated coming of Christ has a purifying effect upon the believer's daily walk before the Lord. “The life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—[3] that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:2-3

Baptism is an important and commanded commemoration. However, we must remember that we are not saved by any form of ritual. We are saved by grace through faith. Communion does not save us, but is meant to commemorate our gracious Savior.

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