Engaged to Fresh Obedience

Sharing Options

By the time we come to this point in the service, we have already confessed our sins. We did that at the beginning of the service, which means that we have already lamented and repented any disobedience. We wash up before we come to dinner, and dinner does not consist of constant introspection, trying to wash up while you eat.

At the same time, it would be a mistake to assume that partaking of this meal has nothing to do with matters of obedience. Not at all. This is a solemn meal, one in which we are engaging ourselves to fresh obedience.

This obedience is fresh in at least two senses. The first is that it is an obedience that starts here, starts now. We are taking in nourishment in order that we might go out from this place equipped to live according to His purposes for us. It is fresh in the sense that the moment is now. A new week lies before you. Obey Him by His grace. In Scripture, works are autonomous, proud, and inadequate. But obedience is a gift. Obedience is a good word—receive it fresh.

But the ways of God are also qualitatively fresh. We are communing together with Him; we have been united to Him as the Spirit works in us. But do not make the mistake of thinking you have been intruded on the divine nature, as though we as creatures have been metaphysically united to His triune nature. No, the Creator/creature distinction is one that will never be bridged that way. What we have been given is the opportunity to be united to God covenantally; we are united to God through covenantal fellowship with Christ, the union between God and man is found in Him, and by His Spirit we are in complete fellowship and union with Him. That fellowship is enacted here, in this meal. As we partake of it by faith, the Spirit works in us, and His work is always qualitatively new. It never ages.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

Notify of
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Travis M. Childers
Travis M. Childers
8 years ago

I appreciate the care you take in leading each element of worship, and the understanding of the proper place of the confession of sin before partaking in the table of the Lord.

But how does a very young child engage himself to fresh obedience, when he hasn’t understood his nature of disobedience in the first place?