November 30 (Daily reading: 1 Corinthians 5-8) 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 presents an important teaching to the Christian community. It was written in the context of a case of incest in the Corinthian church. The entire church became complicit with the man’s sin by inaction. They had tolerated the man’s conduct when they should have handed him over to Satan, “so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord” (5:5, NIV). This should be interpreted in the light of what Paul advised in another situation: “Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (2 Thes. 3:15).
Let us apply these verses in a more general sense in the church. Paul said, “Your boasting is not good.” Evil slips into the fellowship through pride! It can spread through the entire church. This is why Paul spoke of leaven, or yeast: “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.” Satan can do a whole lot with just a little bit of pride, a little bit of criticism, or a little bit of sin of any description! So, Paul advised: “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are” (NIV). He then gave an interesting analogy: “For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” The mention of yeast makes one think of Passover when all the yeast was removed from the house. Jesus became our Passover, with His own blood applied by faith to our hearts. This is what Paul meant by “as you really are” (a new person in Christ). The life of the church is a spiritual celebration, when the old “leaven of malice and wickedness” is replaced by “the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (5:8). Christ shed His blood and died for our past sins but also for our present fellowship in the church!
– Al Gary