Tuesday, 10 June 2014
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. 1 Corinthians 5:7
Contained within the New Testament are extraordinary hints of the fulfillment of Old Testament shadows and pictures of Christ. This verse contains two of them which could be overlooked so easily and yet they are immensely deep in their theological significance. In chapter 23 of Leviticus, there is a list of the Feasts of the Lord. In order, they are:
Trumpets (Yom Teruah)
Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
Paul notes in Colossians 2:16, 17 that these find their fulfillment in Christ –
“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
As a validation of this, each and every one of them is found to be fulfilled in His work during His first advent. Today’s verse from 1 Corinthians gives us verification that two of them are fulfilled – Passover and Unleavened Bread. A detailed study of the other six feasts will demonstrate their fulfillment as well. Christ is the focus of all of Scripture. And all of Scripture testifies to His work.
Understanding this, we can now look at Paul’s words in how they pertain to the context of his surrounding thoughts. He begins by saying “therefore.” It is a term which asks us to contemplate what has thus far been said. In the previous verse, he said “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” In order to ensure that the church isn’t tainted with bad doctrine or sinful practice, he now builds on that by saying “purge out the old leaven.” This is exactly what the Israelites were told to do at the Passover each year –
“For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.” Exodus 12:19, 20
The Old Testament body was given as physical examples which present spiritual truths. Leaven, picturing sin, is to be removed. This was to be practiced for the entire week of Unleavened Bread. The picture is thus fulfilled in Christ who was sinless and now we, who are in Him, are to purge out the leaven of sin in our lives so, as Paul says, “that you may be a new lump.” And he then explains why by saying, “since you truly are unleavened.”
In Christ, we are deemed as “sinless.” We are declared “not guilty” despite the reality of our fallen state. Paul explains this in 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19 –
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
Though we are still fallen and sin, those sins are not imputed because of Christ. But Paul would go further and ask us to live in the manner which is reflected by our status. We are to purge out the old leaven and to be a new lump. Along with Unleavened Bread, the symbolism from the Passover also finds its true fulfillment in Jesus Christ. This is noted as Paul continues by saying, “For indeed Christ our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
The celebration of these two feasts, Passover and Unleavened Bread were mere shadows of the greater work of Christ. In Him we find the fulfillment of all types and pictures from the Old Testament, including the fulfillment of all of the Feasts of the Lord.
Life application: Jesus claimed that all Scripture testifies to Him. By studying our Bible, we find this is true. He is the entire focus of the word of God. Be sure to read the Bible through the lens of Christ. When you do, it all makes sense.
Lord God, it is so wonderful to see that every story in the Bible points to the work of Jesus Christ. Every feast, every miracle, every noted person is used to show us pictures of Him. If you have used real people and real events to show us His work, then I know it is our duty and honor to search Him out in them. Open my eyes to see the wondrous beauty of Christ hidden as apples of gold in settings of silver. Thank You for the precious word which shows Jesus to me. Amen.