Bitterness and Baptism

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You are not here at the Table by yourself. Seated here with you are all the saints of God, throughout the world, and throughout history. We are called upon to discern the body, and not just the body here in this room. But this does not exclude those who are here in this room.

And so let us consider the relationship between bitterness and baptism. If you are baptized, and gathered here with us, you not only may come, but you must come. But if you are bitter and resentful toward anyone else here who is partaking with you, then you are not discerning the body as you are commanded, and coming to the table in this condition is hazardous, and not just to your spirit.

Bitterness and baptism are inconsistent. They cannot abide one another, and they cannot abide together. One of them must go. But removing your own baptism is not something you have the authority to do. If you could do it, it would remove the inconsistency, but you cannot do it. That means you must confess the bitterness, and you must be done with it. It does not matter what the other person has done, or what you have imagined them to have done. Let none of you fall short of the grace of God. Let none of you continue to nurture that root of bitterness.

This is hard, and so we start looking for a way of escape—and not the way of escape the Lord promised to us. And usually what we do is seek to rename our bitterness, calling it something else. We say it is righteous indignation, or a principled stand, or a thorough Christian worldview, or some other foolishness. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, we are still bent out of shape.

If you are bitter, and if you are baptized, you are about to approach this Table. The Lord Jesus is seated at the head of the Table. As you approach, remember that you do not have His permission to come in this way. Drop the bitterness. Let it go. Confess it. Repent of it. And come in gladness of heart.

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