A moment’s reflection should show us that God’s standards are much too low. He has graciously invited to this Table all sorts of disreputable people. When He tells us in His Word that we should show hospitality to those who cannot repay us, we need to remember that this is something which He has already done.
With this thinking, centered on the concern for God’s low standards, a false zeal for His holiness tempts us. We think that He will be defiled through association with people who need Him, and so we discourage repentant sinners from coming to the Table, for they might not be repentant enough. Another way we do this is when we withdraw the Table in a sectarian way, and make it a reward for the spiritually elite.
Now this bread and this wine are to be withheld from those who are sinning with a high hand. Those whose faces are sleek and insolent, who believe that God does not see their wickedness, who believe that this meal is somehow their automatic birthright, must be denied. Those who have been communing their whole childhood, but who have decided to pursue an impure life on the side, must be warned off. Certainly, from those who pursue their adulteries, who bow down to idols, who blaspheme the name of God, we must withhold this sacred meal. The one sin that cannot come is impudence.
But the disconsolate must come. The discouraged must come. The one who has failed, confessed, and wept seven times in one day must come. The battered must come. The conflicted must come. The guilty must come. The one who struggles with ingratitude must come. Those in such dire straits cannot be told often enough that this bread and wine is not a reward for being good, it is grace for those who want to learn how to stop being bad.
So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.