32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. (1 Cor. 11:32)
Lest someone were to misinterpret what Paul meant by the language of “judgment” (1 Cor. 11:29), in comes verse thirty-two to provide clarity and a surprising witness to the doctrine of eternal security. The judgment that Paul was speaking about (“But when we are judged”) was akin to divine discipline (“we are disciplined by the Lord”). And divine discipline is a witness to divine affection – “…those whom the LORD loves He disciplines” (Heb. 12:6a). The absence of discipline means that an individual is not God’s child (vs.8). No chastisement feels pleasant, whether it be human or divine; but its typical end is to produce a harvest of righteousness (vs.11).
In Corinth, the chastisement upon sinning-though-saved sons and daughters of God who partook of the Lord’s Table in an unworthy manner was not to destroy them and usher them into eternal punishment but to discipline them and preserve them from it – “so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” Generally-speaking, the chastisement comes as an impetus towards righteous living; and in other cases, when it comes and is unto death, it is still for a believer’s good, so that they will not be condemned with the world (vs.32b). One way or another, the LORD ensures that those who are His cross the finish line and are preserved unto everlasting life. This provides an important wrinkle in the understanding of the doctrine of eternal security. Though exceptional, in some cases a wayward believer may be preserved unto salvation by the intervention of God’s temporal judgment. In that case, chastisement unto death is the divinely-appointed means of preserving an individual from ultimately falling away.
With his instructions concerning the Lord’s Supper drawing to a close, Paul concluded this section of his epistle with some practical instruction. In verses 33 and 34 we read…
33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come. (1 Cor. 11:33,34)
Paul referred back to an issue that epitomized part of the problem in the Corinthians’ mistreatment of the Lord’s Supper – they didn’t wait for one another (vs.33b). Some ate, or took their own supper, ahead of others (cf. 11:21), and didn’t think twice about bringing shame upon believers who were the have-‘nots,’ i.e. the poor, who might have come to the meal a little while after others only to find that their poverty excluded them from at least some, if not all, of the meal. Such behavior well demonstrated their lack of reverence for the ordinance and their lack of consideration for one another. For starters, the agape meal and the celebration the Lord’s Supper was supposed to be celebrated when they “[came] together” (vs.34b; cf. 17,18, 20,33). Emphasis on the word together. This was never meant to be an individual’s ‘thing that they do’ on their own ‘as unto the Lord.’ This was an ordinance for the church to celebrate as a church.
Furthermore, they were to put the needs of other Christians above their own appetites for the sake of demonstrating Christian unity, as well as the ordinance’s solemnity. If physical hunger was an issue, a person should’ve been sure to eat at home (vs.34a) so as to assuage their food-craving and mitigate the temptation to disregard other believers or the solemnity of the table. This may also implicitly witness to the negotiable nature of eating the agape meal that surrounded the Lord’s Supper in contrast to the, if you will, non-negotiable nature of partaking of the Lord’s Supper that Jesus instituted at the Passover.
Paul concluded by saying, “The remaining matters I will arrange when I come” (vs.34b). So, given the context of chapter 11 in its entirety, Paul anticipated giving the Corinthians either further instructions concerning the Lord’s Supper or further direction concerning the church’s worship, or both, when he arrived in Corinth – a matter he made reference to frequently in this epistle (1 Cor. 4:18-21; 16:2-3, 5-7). But with the conclusion of this section, the church of Corinth had the revelation necessary to honor the Savior and His people while at His table. And so do we. And as we continue to practice the ordinance as children of God among the family of God, we are afforded opportunity after opportunity to remember the sufficient sacrifice of our Savior, anticipate His coming again, and examine our behaviors for purpose of repentance.