Thursday, March 27, 2008

Handing Them Over to Satan Part 2

Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

After making sure they understand the seriousness of this sin and the expectation of their response very clear (often times, the Greek language is much harsher than our English interpretation ... not a hard and fast rule, but generally true in these instances), Paul continues to address the boasting of the assembly.

As if he heard it handed down from the original twelve, Paul asks them a rhetorical question, "Don't you know that just a little yeast puffs up the whole loaf of bread?" Jesus dealt with the pride of the religious leaders of His day with the same metaphor.

Paul then begins to make inferences based on the initial Passover feast, which is truly defined as Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. (In the gospels, Jesus wasn't giving them something new called "communion", He was redefining a tradition that had been followed for literally hundreds of years, the Passover, that He was the lamb and the sacrifice that freed them from slavery to become God's people of promise; He was the New Covenant Himself)

Under the rules of the Old Law, the house was to be completely cleaned out of any leaven before the Passover. Not only could they not cook with it during Passover, they were restricted from having any leaven at all. This was to guard against temptation because anyone who ate any leaven over Passover week was to be "cut off from the congregation of Israel."

Are we seeing a pattern here?

By getting rid of their pride, their boasting in sin, they are able to become a "new lump", ready for fellowship with Christ. In verse 8, Paul concludes his Passover metaphor by telling them to purge not only the leaven of pride but malice and wickedness, leaving only the bread of sincerity and truth.

In other words, as Christ is representative of the Passover, get rid of pride, malice, and wickedness so you are able to participate of Christ in sincerity and truth. Pride, malice, and wickedness are not mutually exclusive here ... they are all outshoots of the same root of the flesh.

Despite what many now teach, it was pride to allow this level of unrepentant sin to continue in the fellowship, namely the sin of sexual immorality. Many today would say it is pride or judgmental to deal with other's sexual behavior. Paul is adamant that the opposite is true.

This means that sexual immorality, while it may be behind closed doors, is not private, according to the Bible, among the fellowship of saints.

Think about it. If we are the Body of Christ, connected through community, true faith, and (more importantly) the seal of the Holy Spirit, then there can be no private sin. If one brings sin, especially serious sin like sexual immorality, into the community of faith, it spiritually affects the whole community in ways we do not understand, and maybe not supposed to. But the principle is true just the same, and I guarantee we will see the fruit of it.

More to come in the conclusion ...



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