Scripture Notes.

p. 221.


1 Colossians 10:16.

There are two things to be clearly understood in this scripture: the meaning of the word communion, and the significance of the act of eating and drinking. As to the first, it may be pointed out that the word translated "partakers" in verse 18, and that rendered "fellowship" in verse 20, are the same as "communion" in verse 16; and herein we may discover the key for its interpretation. The word communion, then, signifies, in its simplest elements, a common participation - and, in this place, the common participation by the saints, as members of the one body, at the Lord's Table, in what is set forth by the blood, and by the body of Christ. Eating, or drinking, implies identification with the thing eaten or drunk, and thus the apostle says, "Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?" (v. 18.) That is, by eating what was placed in sacrifice on the altar, they became identified with the sacrifices, and were thus brought in a way into fellowship with the altar. Their eating the sacrifices identified them, in a word, with both the sacrifices and the altar; just as the apostle teaches, our drinking the cup (though he only alludes to eating the loaf), and partaking of the one loaf, identify us with what these things signify, and with the Lord's Table. Applying this to the Lord's Table in the order found in this passage, we learn, first, that by our taking "the cup of blessing" we express our communion one with another in the efficacy of the blood of Christ, and at the same time avow our identification with all the value of that blood before God. Secondly, when we partake of the one loaf, we express our communion one with another, as members of the one body, in the sacrifice of the body of Christ (for it is the actual body of Christ, offered through the Eternal Spirit without spot to God, to which reference is here made); and we also avow our identification, as known by faith, with all the sweet savour of that sacrifice before God. How blessed the privilege then to be gathered around, and to be identified with, the Lord's Table. And how solemn the act of partaking, both of the cup and of the loaf, proclaiming, as we are thus permitted to do, that we are before God in all the value which He attaches to the blood, and to the sacrifice as the burnt-offering of Christ. The cup, it may be added, comes here first, because the truth of the one body is involved in the one loaf; and thus to show the impossibility of any, whatever their pretensions, being members of the one body, unless they are under the value of the precious blood of Christ. For knowing the efficacy of the work of Christ, the cleansing power of His blood, is the divine condition for the reception of the indwelling Spirit, whereby we are united to Christ.


Psalm 143:1; 1 John 1:9.

The correspondence, in one aspect, between these scriptures is extremely interesting. The dispensations are entirely different, but there are divine truths which underlie both, and which indeed are eternal. In the psalm, David cries, "Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in Thy faithfulness answer me, and in Thy righteousness." The ground of his appeal, and rightly so in his case as it was a question of God's government on the earth, God's righteous government, is the faithfulness and righteousness of God. No Christian in similar circumstances could be led of the Spirit to take this ground in his supplications. We come boldly to the throne of grace to receive mercy, and to find grace for seasonable succour. When, however, we come to the epistle of John, we find the very words here used by the Psalmist: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just [or, righteous] to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." But while this is so, we know that we could not appeal for forgiveness on the ground of God's faithfulness and righteousness, inasmuch as the forgiveness is the expression of nothing but grace. On the other hand, when we read in the next chapter, "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins," etc., then we understand that God, in view of what Christ is in His presence, in virtue of His work, is faithful and righteous in forgiving the sins of His people on confession. Thus the faithfulness and righteousness of God are equally displayed in the case of the Psalmist, and of believers confessing their sins, though it would not be according to the truth, as it was for David in his day, for Christians to take that ground in their prayers and supplications. E. D.