In I Cor 11:26-27 Paul discusses the two elements of the Lord’s supper that he identifies as the bread and the cup. He then relates these two elements to the body (the bread) and blood of Christ (the cup), but why does the one sacrifice of Christ need to be represented by two elements? The answer appears to be that there were two things accomplished in the the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. The first element, the bread, represents His body that was a sacrifice for sin (Heb 10:5). His body as a sin sacrifice was the legal remedy for sin; a remedy that man himself could not provide. Because men are stewards of goods in this world, the only possession they have that is actually theirs is their life. When God required a man’s life as a consequence for Adam’s sin (Gen 3:19), then there was nothing left that a man had that he could give as a ransom for sin. However, because Jesus was born free from the curse of sin by virtue of His birth from a different parentage, He was legally able to offer His body as a sacrifice for sin, because He was not required to die. Because He was the Creator of heaven and earth and all things therein (Jn 1:1-3, 14), then His sin sacrifice was worth more than the the entire creation for the Creator is greater than the things created. Paul tells us that Christ died for all (II Cor 5:14-15) and Peter concurs (I Pet 2:24). By the sacrifice of Christ’s body the legal debt for sin was paid, and God was free to justify any that He chose. God chose to attach conditions to His grace but freely extends grace to every man who will accept the terms of pardon.
There is one thing lacking at that point, however, that God wanted for man. At the point where redemption is paid, the sinner is merely freed from punishment. He is in effect left to go about whatever he can do on his own. At the point of redemption it is as if God opened the jail house door and said, “You are free to go.” God desired more for man than to be merely set free, however. God desired reconciliation with man. Reconciliation is the second thing that the death of Christ accomplished. The cup is the blood of Christ and it represents the reuniting of man with God through purification accomplished by the sprinkling of blood on the heart of man. The process of cleansing is called sanctification and is accomplished by baptism where the sinner contacts the cleansing blood. In Hebrews the writer states that our bodies are washed with pure water (baptism) and our hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience (Heb 10:22). It is the blood of Christ that sprinkes our hearts and purifies us so that we may be holy. In I Cor 6:11 Paul also uses a reference to washing and sanctification to describe the purification of sinners. He says, “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” The sanctification (setting apart, making holy) is accomplished by the blood of Christ (Heb 13:12).
The two elements of the Lord’s supper then represent two things that God does for men. He justifies (ransoms) men and He sanctifies believers. Those who are sanctified by the blood are even said to be purchased by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). Those who are purchased by the blood are a people of God’s own possession, redeemed from all iniquity and purified unto Christ (I Pet 2:9, Titus 2:14). The people of God are not only forgiven of their sins, but they are also reconciled unto God (II Cor 5:20, Col 1:21, Eph 2:16). Thus we see in Christians the complete redemption and reconciliation accomplished through the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ.
The effects of the sin sacrifice of Christ’s body extend to every man. Because Christ died and rose again, all shall be made alive (I Cor 15:22). However, we must all come before the judgment seat of Christ (Rom 14:10), and those who have not repented of their sins and are not worthy of life will be condemned and sentenced to the second death (Rev 20:15). Those who are penitent and were decent people will be granted freedom from the second death (Mt 25:34-36) and will be granted life as the nations (Rev 21:24, 2:27, 3:21). However, they will be forever excluded from the immediate presence of God (Rev 21:24, 27, 22:14), because these nations are defiled since they have not been purified. Though God grants them mercy because His legal wrath has been satisfied, they do not have access to His person because they are unclean. God foresaw the eternal situation of separation between His sanctified and the unwashed nations, and He typified the distinction through the separation He created between the Jew and Gentile here on earth. Just as the Gentile could not enter the Court of Israel, even so the nations will never be able to enter New Jerusalem (Rev 21:27). Just as Israel has always been distinct from the Gentiles, even so with the sons of God ever be distinct from the nations in the world to come. Just as the people had to approach God through the priests, just so will the nations of the new earth have to approach God through the sons of God, their priests (Isa 61:6) and intercessors (Isa 66:19, Zech 8:23). The sons of God, sanctified by the blood of Christ, will be kings of the earth (Rev 3:21) and will be able to enter through the gates of the city into the very presence of God (Rev 21:24). Even our eternal abode will be in the house of God (Jn 14:1-4, Ps 23:6). The sanctifed sons of God, unlike the exiled Jews of old, will be pillars in the temple of God and will never again be separated from God’s service (Rev 3:12). In the sons of God the sacrifice of Christ shows forth its complete work of salvation in freeing us from sin and reconciling us to God, and by reconciliation to God we thereby inherit the promises of Abraham through Christ Jesus (Gal 3:14), even eternal life (Mt 19:29, Rom 6:23) and sonship (Php 2:15), and all things (Rev 21:7)