Room and Board

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When Nicolas Ridley was Bishop of London, he undertook the important reform of “stripping the altars.” Churches then had multiple altars, in the front of the church and in many side alcoves. Ridley ordered these all be removed, and replaced with a wooden table, a “decent table.”

He referred to this as the “Lord’s board,” taking that language from the translation of 1 Cor. 10:21 found in the Geneva Bible. Where our translations say the “Lord’s table,” the Geneva rendered it as board. We still have forms of this usage in expressions like “room and board,” or “boarders.” But whatever expression is used, the point was to replace an instrument for sacrificing with an instrument for eating.

In the times of the Old Testament, men of God built altars on the earth, and they were right to do so. They built altars because the altar had not yet been established. In the times of the new covenant, the earth itself has become an altar (Rom. 12:1-2), such that anything we do is to be offered up as a living sacrifice. Because Christ died once for all, the building of altars is no longer necessary, and, more than that, building altars is forbidden. We are summoned to come, take our place, in order to eat and drink.

So you are adopted into the family of God. You have every right to be here. God has given you His Spirit, the Spirit who calls out Abba, Father. This means that, unlike a renter, you may simply sit down to eat and drink. The costs are completely covered. No one would say of their toddler, except as a joke, that we decided to “give him room and board.” But the reason we wouldn’t say that is not because it isn’t true. He is being given room and board. But grace is so much a part of everyone’s thinking that the idea of making him pay for it never enters anyone’s head.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

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9 years ago

This is the first time I have seen this argument. From first principles, it makes sense. Where does the “… and, more than that, building altars is forbidden. ” come from?


9 years ago

Timothy, it is forbidden by the laws of logic to have an altar without a sacrifice. And after the death of Christ it is forbidden to have any other sacrifice than His.

Ahh! Thanks.

Following the train of thought, it is, therefore, idolatry to ‘offer a sacrifice’ on an altar because it is a slap at Him Who’s sacrifice was perfect; stated differently, to offer a sacrifice is to deny His sacrifice.

When He said, “it is finished” it was.