Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? (5:6).
It was tempting, to fixate my attention on everything Paul was calling the Corinthians to do… clean out the old leaven… celebrate with unleavened bread… and then, his warning to not associate with any so-called brother who is immoral, covetous, idolater, reviler, drunkard, swindler… And as I thought about yesterday’s reading, that He brings to light the dark and hidden motives of our hearts… good grief! There just might not be anyone left to associate with!
And I searched to see Him. But this church… the Corinthian believers had grabbed hold of the message of grace; convinced their good deeds could not earn their salvation, and equally convinced their bad deeds could not lose it. And in that, they became so arrogant and boastful; believing they had no reason to worry about the way they lived life here on earth.
And rather than take hold of His Life and Liberty granted by His grace, they remained influenced by their prospering society, pagan practices, wanton lifestyles, and perhaps pressures from unbelievers, to use their newfound liberty as a means to gratify their flesh; a total misconception of God’s amazing grace.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2).
As Paul admonished them to clean out the old leaven, he called their attention to the Passover feast, celebrating the Lamb of God, to see the One Who so graciously provided both Life and Liberty.
“Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance… 17 You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt… 20 You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread,” (Exodus 12:14, 17, 20).
God’s command gave special attention to ensure there was no leaven… in anything.
Leaven, a substance like yeast, causes fermentation and expansion of dough. As a noun it is “an element that produces an altering or transforming influence, and as a verb (used with object) it means “to permeate with an altering or transforming element.”
In Scripture, leaven is typically symbolic of sin. Consider the following:
“Leaven/yeast is basically old, fermented dough that is placed in new dough to make it rise. The key is that you only need to add a very small amount of fermented dough to make new dough rise.” From: https://jesusalive.cc/ques171.htm
Such a graphic illustration. Think about that; the old, placed in the new. And it doesn’t take much.
A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough, (Galatians 5:9).
And this is what Paul was calling the Corinthian church, and all of us, to see. Why on earth would you tolerate your new Life and Liberty in Christ to be permeated by old sin habits? And especially, how could you do that as you commemorate the great price He paid to become your Life and Liberty?
Consider Him, Our Life and Liberty
He is Our Life
- “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10).
- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” (John 14:6).
- He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life, (1 John 5:11).
And it is by His Life that we are set free from our slavery to sin.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death, (Romans 8:2).
He is Our Liberty
- “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed,” (John 8:36).
- It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery, (Galatians 5:1).
- For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another, (Galatians 5:13).
How do we respond to Him, Our Life and Liberty?
The Passover celebrating the blood of the sacrificial lamb that had spared them from death, was a foreshadowing of the Lamb of God Who would be sacrificed for the sins of the world.
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
And this feast was meant to be a reminder, a memorial celebrating the Life and Liberty Jesus Christ provided as our Sacrificial Lamb; and that’s a cause for celebration. There should be joy in remembering, but it should also be a time of somber reflection. Our celebration of the Life and Liberty we have in the Lamb will look much different than the life and liberty celebrated by the world.
Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, (5:7-8).
Let us ask His Holy Spirit to reveal the leaven threatening to permeate and alter Our Life and Liberty in Christ.
He began saying to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known…” (Luke 12:1-2).
Let us sincerely ask Him to reveal, and clean out, any hypocrisy in our lives; and by faith, depend on His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection for all Our Life and Liberty.
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life, (Romans 6:3-4).
And let us commit our whole lives to our Passover Lamb, to daily live as His faithful servants in sincerity and truth, in daily commemoration of who we are and all we have in Him, Our Life and Liberty.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, (Romans 12:1).
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God, (1 Peter 2:16).