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gray and white As to the matter of reception at the Lords's table, we must remember there are two sides to the question, the Divine and the human. As to the Divine side, there is a place at the table for every member of the body of Christ. But as to the human side, we have to bear in mind that we are not in Acts 2, but in 2 Timothy. In Acts 2 the Lord added to the Assembly such as should be saved. All was clear and unmistakable. But, in 2 Timothy, we have the great house, vessels to dishonor, false professors, all sorts of errors, evils, and difficulties. Hence, if we would be "meet for the master's use", we must purge ourselves from dishonorable vessels; "flee youthful desires", "turn away from false professors. All this demands constant exercise of heart and conscience and the greatest vigilance and care as to the reception at the Lord's table.

I have, of late, been much interested in the study of 1 Corinthians 11. There were schisms in the assembly at Corinth, and the Apostle says, "There must needs be heresies that they which are approved may be made manifest" (verse 19). He does not say, "That they which are Christians may be made manifest". I believe the "approved" ones were in contrast with the "heretics", or self-willed ones. The meaning of the word "heresy" is self-will, which is the root of schism. Hence he says, "Let a man approve himself, and so let him eat". It is not "examine" but "approve" — the same word as in verse 19. He does not say, "Let a man be a Christian and so let him eat".

When "heresy" or self-will is working, and "schisms" are apparent as the result, we have to "approve" ourselves, as regards our moral and spiritual conditions, and so take our place at the table of the Lord, where the most prominent is, not our rights and privileges or those of others, but the claims of Christ, as Head of the body.

I can never, by the grace of God, accept any ground of fellowship, save the glorious truth set forth in Ephesians 4, "There is one body". The Lord's table is not a place for paying compliments to people, or for the display of our great liberality, breadth of mand, or catholicity of spirit. No; it is a place where the claims of Christ are to be maintained; where truth, holiness and practical righteousness are to be the grand characteristics.

From a Letter by CHM.


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