When it comes to observance of the Lord’s Supper, and especially when it comes to regular, weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper, there are a number of questions that we have to address and answer. One of them is what devout preparation for participation looks like.
Paul teaches us that we do have a duty to examine ourselves. He uses the same word—anakrisis—in a couple of different places. “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (1 Cor. 11:28). “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Cor. 13:5).
This means that the issue is not whether preparation for the Supper consists of self-examination. Of course it does. The problem is that a great deal of confusion exists over what constitutes lawful and sane self-examination. We must take it as a given that self-examination is necessary for every approach to the Table. We must not take it as a given that we have a good grasp of what healthy self-examination looks like. Too often the people who try to examine themselves give way to morbid introspection, and the people who are not given to morbid introspection are only free of this vice because they have never attempted to obey Paul’s requirement in any way.
When you examine yourself, you are not looking for sin. If the presence of sin disqualified us from the Supper, then no one could partake. What you are looking for is love of sin, devotion to it. If you examine yourselves and find that Jesus Christ is in you, you will not find loyalty to the world, the flesh and the devil. You will see your sins, but you will also see, by the grace of God, your hatred of them.
So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.