QUESTION: Concerning the Lord’s Supper: How can one eat and drink damnation to himself, if he’s saved?
ANSWER: The passage referred to is found in 1 Corinthians 11:29, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.” This passage is clearly instructing us concerning the Lord’s Table.
The Greek word translated “damnation” in this verse is found 28 times elsewhere in the New Testament. Thirteen times it is translated “judgment;” seven times “damnation;” five times “condemnation;” once “to be condemned;” once “to go to law;” and once “avenge.” The root word is “judge.”
According to Noah Webster the word “damnation” means “condemnation.” Condemnation is the act of declaring one guilty. In this sense of the word even a judge can declare guilt or “damnation.” The Bible agrees with this conclusion as is seen in Romans 13:2 where those who resist the powers of government also “receive to themselves damnation.” Therefore, to eat and drink damnation to yourself is to incur God’s personal judgment against your actions.
The next verse spells out the exact meaning of God’s judgment against His own, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep” (1 Cor 11:30). To take the Lord’s Supper unworthily will first cause spiritual weakness and immaturity. It then begins to affect the physical body, causing sickness. Finally, if God’s warnings are still ignored and the Christian refuses to correct the error of his way, God says that He can cause an early death. Rewards can be lost forever – although the soul shall be saved.
The first or most correct response of a Christian who is under conviction for known sin should be to confess it, forsake it and partake in this ordinance established by God. God does not want His children to not take the Lord’s Supper – He wants them to partake worthily.
Charles Spurgeon on this precious ordinance, “Let him come as a true believer, as sincere; if not perfect, yet true; if not all he ought to be, yet in Christ; if not all he wants to be, yet still on the way to it, by being in Christ, who is "the way, the truth and the life."