First, why do we take Holy Communion to begin with? Some people believe after people have been baptized to become a Christian and initially have their sins forgiven, the purpose of the Lord's Supper is to cause the forgiveness of sins on an ongoing basis.
Said differently, they believe the purpose of the weekly, quarterly or annual partaking of Communion is to forgive sins that have accumulated since the last time they took Eucharist. If someone misses taking Communion, during the previous week, his sins are not forgiven, and he's in danger of dying unsaved.
This is a misunderstanding, though, of both baptism and of the Lord's Supper. It's a mistake to believe baptism is for the forgiveness of past sins, only. In baptism, a repentant person enters into a state of forgiveness, or into a saving relationship with Christ in which all sins are forgiven and continue to be forgiven if we don't fall away from believing in Jesus. But our faith must remain strong.
The Lord's Supper does not impart forgiveness of sins.
What, then is the benefit of taking Communion? It helps to keep our faith alive and strong. It's a reminder our assurance of salvation rests on Christ alone and especially on his dying for our sins. There are other reasons for taking the Lord's Supper, but keeping our faith strong is the main reason and benefit.
So, if a person obeys the command of "not forsaking our assembling together" (Hebrews 10:25), and regularly receives the emblems of the Lord's Supper, he or she should not enter into an unsaved state.
The Lord's Supper is only for believers. There is no specific command on that, but it is implied. When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, saying, "Drink from it, all of you," he was speaking only to his disciples. When the church began on the day of Pentecost, it was only the 3,000 baptized believers who devoted themselves to "the breaking of bread." Only those who partake of the benefits of Christ's broken body and shed blood can meaningfully partake of the bread and the cup.
So, it is clear that taking the emblems of the Supper is meaningful only for someone who is a believer, someone already saved. Part of the remembering we do in the Supper is remembering we were spiritually "sprinkled with his blood" (1 Peter 1:2) when we were physically washed with pure water in our baptism (Hebrews 10:22). This means nothing to an unbeliever or to someone who has never been baptized.
Jay Craig of Shelbina, Mo., has worked with Shiloh Christian Children's Ranch for nearly 40 years. He's a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Craig attended Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Mo. He can be contacted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.