The Lord's Table

John Alfred Trench

It would be an extraordinary thing to me if the Spirit of God sent us to the altar of Judaism or the table of demons to learn anything about the centre of the Assembly's worship—its highest privilege on earth. It alters the whole character of it—from what God the Father seeks of us who have been blessed with all that love could give, into a place where He dispenses blessing.

But now I turn to 1 Corinthians; first to remark generally upon the very helpful division of the epistle, as long ago pointed out, at chapter 10:16, in accord with the double character of the address of the epistle: (1) to the Assembly of God in Corinth, the sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by God's calling; (2) with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, which, though assumed to be real prima facie, might not be.

In the first ten chapters, to verse 15, the apostle addresses the whole profession of His name; and thenceforward the true body of Christ found in it. No such warnings as are found in the first part of the epistle, as for instance in chapter 10:1-15 and chapter 3 are contained in the second part. Now it is remarkable that it is only when the apostle brings in the one body that the Lord's Supper gets the character of the “Lord's Table,” only so designated in Scripture. For that it is not to be separated from it, as though the Table and the Supper were different things, verses 16-17, and 21 show; where the “cup of the Lord” preserves in the most intimate way the connection. Founded on the communion of the blood, and of the body of Christ, partaking of the Table of the Lord (which is all that is said of it) is the answer of faith to our wonderful position as of the body of Christ, setting forth as we partake, what we are, with all that are Christ's, as one body; while chapter 11 is what we do, as answering to the deeply affecting desire of the Lord expressed through Paul, even from the glory, where He is, “This do for a remembrance of ME .” It lowers the whole character of the blessed institution to make it a question of food, support or bounty for us, when what gives it its character from the Lord, and for Him, is that having reached Him through identification with His death, we are afforded the opportunity of expressing in the unity of the body what He has become to us. It is the centre of the Assembly's worship, where with full hearts we may give back to Him in praise something of the fulness of what we have received.

For just herein lies the distinguishing characteristic of the Lord's Table, that in partaking of the one loaf we express the unity in which we have been formed with Christ and all who are His, which becomes the ground of the subsequent reasoning of the apostle, that if united on the ground we take of highest privilege, we are, as thus united, separated from all that is morally incompatible with it.

That which professes to be the Table of the Lord, which only recognizes the members of a sect or party, is thus proved false to the place Scripture gives it in the Assembly of God.

J.A.Trench

S.T. 1923