Day 59…1 Corinthians 5:6-13:

April 20, 2011 at 10:39 AM Leave a comment

I Corinthians 5:6-13: Remove the yeast

This is the rest of Paul’s exhortation to the believers at Corinth regarding the “yeast” (sin) among them.

v.6-7, the Corinthian believers were boasting about what their church was doing (possibly sending out missionaries, being true to the Scriptures, etc) while ignoring the sin that was among them. Paul uses the illustration of sin being like “yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough.” Sin left uncorrected, no matter whether secret or blatant, will affect the whole congregation, just as yeast makes bread rise, a little bit will affect the whole batch. Paul says “get rid of the old yeast by removing this wicked person from among you.” Believers should be intolerant of sin that jeopardizes the spiritual health of the church. Paul was literally telling them to expel this sinful man from their church just as a cook would get rid of old yeast, so that they (church members) might be pure as a “fresh batch made without yeast, which is really what [they] are.” This did not mean that without this man and his sin they would be sinless, no, but Paul was trying to teach them that with this sinful man in their midst, this evil would spread and affect the whole church, so it needed to be disciplined by removal so that the believers could see the serious consequences of sin! By referring to “Christ, our Passover Lamb” that had been “sacrificed for us” Paul was reminding the believers what Christ did for them (and all believers)–he gave his life so that everyone’s sins will be forgiven. By not dealing with this man’s sin, they were taking the power from Christ’s death and resurrection.

v.8, when Paul says “let us celebrate the festival” he is not commanding the believers to keep the Jewish Passover but this was a figuratively way of picturing what Christ is to all believers. The Passover Festival of Unleavened Bread was celebrated with a ceremonial search through the house for any yeast and then destroy it. This was symbolic of removing all sin among the local church during this same festival. Paul goes on to say “not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.” The old bread is the old life and the new bread is the new life. Paul was telling the believers not tp copy the world’s behaviour and customs but to let God transform them so the world can see that they are truly sincere and full of truth but what they were doing was pretending that everything was alright when in actual fact they were harbouring wickedness and evil in their midst.

v.9-11, Paul refers to his earlier when he says “when I wrote to you before” and in that letter he told them “not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin.” Paul goes on to explain “I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people.” Not sure if the believers misunderstood Paul’s earlier letter or they were avoiding his command, but what was clear was they must separate themselves from those who claim to be Christians yet indulge in sins explicitly forbidden in Scripture and then rationalize their actions. The believers in this church (and all churches) had a responsibility to rebuke, correct and restore those in the church who claim to be believers but act like unbelievers.

v.12-13, Paul reminds the believers the difference between a believer and unbeliever, at least how to relate to them. The “outsiders” or unbelievers are to be met where they are, even in their sinful lifestyle and offer them the Gospel. But the believers “responsibility is not to judge” them because “God will judge” them. But the believers have the “responsibility to judge those in the church who are sinning.” This is not referring to criticizing or gossiping or making rash judgments, it is talking about dealing with blatant unrepented sin in the church. Paul’s instructions are clear “you must remove the evil person from among you.” But again it should NOT be done in revenge or resentment but done to restore the believer back into fellowship.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Paul is really driving the point home that believers that are acting like unbelievers and are not willing to repent and change need to be removed. In other words, we need to confess our sins before God and repent or God will remove us or “put us on the shelf” where we can’t hurt the cause of Christ.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  For me I think it is simple, continually confess my sins before God so that I will be blameless before him and will never hurt the cause of Christ. 1 John 1:9 is a great reminder of this for me.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.


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Entry filed under: Journey Thru the Bible.

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