1 Corinthians 5:8


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

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 5:8

As was noted in the previous verse, the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread of the Old Testament pictured, or foreshadowed, the work of Christ. Paul claims their fulfillment is found in Him. As these were “Feasts of the Lord” (meaning Jehovah), the connection is obvious – Jesus Christ is Jehovah Incarnate. How people miss this is rather remarkable!

Because their fulfillment is found in Him and because we are “in Christ,” Paul says, “Therefore…” The coming words explain our duties based on our position in Him. And what does he detail for us then? He says, “Let us keep the feast.” In other words we could say, “because Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us, let us keep the rest of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.” It is a metaphor asking us to consider our position in Him, the sinless Lamb of God.

Christ is the fulfillment of the Passover. Because of His shed blood, God has “passed over” us and we are now found in Him. Because we are in Him, we should “keep the feast, not with old leaven.” What we once were and the way we once acted are no longer appropriate ways of conducting ourselves. If Christ had to die to redeem us, then there must have been a need for Him to die to redeem us! Why would we continue in a life that necessitated such an action. That old life consisted of “the leaven of malice and wickedness.”

This is certainly a reference to what necessitated his words in the first place – the man caught up in sexual immorality who is noted in verses 1-5 is being used as an example of such a debased life and it is a lifestyle which is contradictory to holy living in Christ. Instead of following such a path, Paul implores those in Corinth (and thus the church which remains to this day) that we should instead keep the feast “with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Jesus Christ is sinless;
We are in Christ;
Therefore, our conduct should be reflective of the sinless position we hold.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread, a Feast mandated by God for Israel 3500 years ago, pictured those in the church age who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ. We are living in the Feast and thus we should follow the example – holy living for those who have been declared sinless. Anything else would be contradictory to the honorable position to which we have been elevated.

Life application: The Old Testament isn’t a compilation of outdated and useless books. Instead, it is the very tool we need to fully understand the marvelous work of God in Christ – why we need Him, what His work entails, and how His work applies to us. Let us not forsake reading, studying, and sharing the whole counsel of God found in both testaments of the Bible.

Lord, help my heart not to be restless for anything but You. Help me to be satisfied with all that You have given me and not to lust after or covet things which I have no right to. I know that with food, clothing, and my Bible I have more than enough to be content. Along with these, You have given me so very much. I thank You for every blessing that has come my way. Let those things be sufficient to keep me from wanting more. Thank You for Your provision. Amen.



1 Corinthians 5:7


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:

Unleavened Bread
Firstfruits (Bikkurim)
Weeks (Shavuot/Pentecost)
Trumpets (Yom Teruah)
Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
Tabernacles (Sukkoth)

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.



1 Corinthians 5:6


Monday, 9 June 2014

Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 1 Corinthians 5:6

The words “your glorying” indicates boasting. It refers back to the words he used in 1 Corinthians 4:19 –

“But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.”

As noted then, this was a metaphor of bread being puffed up from the use of yeast. Throughout the Bible this is seen as a picture of sin, and specifically in this case, pride. The symbolism permeates the pages of Scripture and it all points to sin in our lives. In contrast is Jesus who knew no sin and thus He is pictured by unleavened bread, such as that used at the Passover. The boasting of the Corinthians was, in picture and in reality, un-Christlike. Paul says that it “is not good.”

In order for them to understand, he reverts back to that Old Testament symbolism and shows them exactly what he means by saying, “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” That is all it takes, just a little pinch of yeast will permeate the entire lump of dough. It, like sin in a person, will affect everything around it. In other words, the sin in the man whom Paul recommended to be expelled, if not expelled, will affect the whole congregation.

Jesus explained this to His own apostles during His ministry, trying to get them to realize that adding to the word of God with man-instituted traditions could only infect the purity of the word of God in our lives. In Matthew 16:6, He said this to them –

“Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

And in his consistent way of writing, Paul will use the same terminology when speaking to the Galatians about their attempts to reintroduce the law into their church-age theology (such as the rite of circumcision). Such actions merely set aside the grace of Christ that they had received and made them debtors to the whole law. Here are his words from Galatians 5:9 – “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

To see how potent the true effects of yeast are, we can look at the process of making San Francisco sourdough bread. It is the most famous sourdough bread made in the U.S. today; probably in the whole world. Unlike sourdough which is made in other areas of the country, what San Francisco produces has remained in continuous production for nearly 150 years. Some bakeries, for example the Boudin Bakery, are able to trace their starters back to California’s territorial period.

A starter is a piece of the bread dough which is cut off and left out of the baking process. The next day, when they make the new batch of dough, they throw in the piece from the previous day – the starter. This piece of dough contains the yeast for the entire batch of new dough. In the case of Boudin Bakery, they have used the same initial yeast, without any addition, for over 150 years, day by day. Cut off a piece, save it for tomorrow. Cut off a piece, save it for tomorrow. Cut off a piece… this one’s for tomorrow.

One pinch of yeast, from over 150 years ago, still affects dough in the exact same way. Now think of this in the context of the church. Bad doctrine, introduced by the heretic Joseph Smith (Mormonism) has affected the entire group known as the Mormons to such an extent that they cannot be called “Christians” in any true sense. Likewise, the yeast of “tradition” has crept into almost every major denomination in Christianity. The very thing that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for permeates almost the entire spectrum of the faith in varying degrees. Such is the nature of just a little bit of yeast.

Life application: Our doctrine is to be based on the word of God. Anything which is practiced in a church which doesn’t adhere to the word of God is to be rejected. Paul’s warning to the Corinthians is a principle which must be held onto even now.

Lord, You are so good to me. I praise You for Your faithfulness, even when I fail. Thank You for Your kind hand of mercy upon me. I love You, I praise You, I cherish Your presence in my life. Amen.


1 Corinthians 5:5


Sunday, 8 June 2014

…deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Corinthians 5:5

In Christianity, doctrine is often thought of as an obstacle to a right relationship with the Lord. Instead, emotions rule theology and it rules the hearts of worshippers to the exclusion of doctrine. This only leads to ineffective Christianity, unsteadiness in a right walk with the Lord, and eventually churches becoming merely social gatherings with no true grounding in what it means to be “Christian.”

However, doctrine is actually of paramount importance as we can learn from the verse under consideration. Paul has established doctrine on several levels here. First, he has shown what is right and proper to do in the case of such a heinous sin as was being committed within the church. The reasons for taking this action are long and detailed, but above all, it was to keep purity within the faith, a right perception of Jesus Christ to those within and without the faith, and to keep the church from devolving into a pattern of abuse which would eventually mean its right to even be called a “church” would be removed by the Lord (see Revelation 2:5).

Besides these and other considerations, there is another point of doctrine which can be discerned from this verse, especially when taken in context with other such verses within Paul’s writings. It is the doctrine of “eternal salvation.” Christians debate whether one cane “lose” their salvation or not. The debate is unnecessary if one understands the nature of God and properly handles the word of God. The answer is “no.”

If one believes in Christ, they are sealed with the Holy Spirit at that moment. This is a deposit (also called a guarantee) of their new state. Ephesians 1:13, 14 (among other verses) shows this is so. As God cannot err, and as God has placed His seal upon the believer, then the sealing (and thus the salvation) must be eternal in nature.

This is confirmed by verses such as 1 Corinthians 5:5. In this verse, Paul is speaking to the body of believers about a believer. In his direct way of handling the case before him, he makes his judgment which he anticipates they will obediently follow by stating for them to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.”

Satan is the ruler of this world, but he is defeated before Christ. He has no power over a believer, but can only afflict them as they continue in their earthly walk. The choice is each believers as to whether they will follow the flesh or follow the leading of the Spirit and it is a constant battle (see Romans 7:13-25). This believer had decided to follow the flesh. Paul instructs them to deliver him over completely to the flesh then by delivering him to Satan.

If one is an alcoholic and comes to Christ, they are saved. The deal is done and they have moved from Adam to Christ. However, if they fall back on their old ways, they will eventually have their flesh destroyed through alcohol. The same is true with drugs, sexual immorality, or any other such carnal sin which affects the flesh of the believer. Whatever perversion lays hold of a believer, the result will be exactly the same as a non-believer; they will eventually have their flesh destroyed by that sin.

However, there is a difference between the two. In the case of the non-believer, they were never united to God spiritually by calling on Christ and their spirit will be lost for all eternity. On the other hand, a believer remains saved regardless of whether they return to earthly lusts or not. The spiritual connection has been guaranteed by God (again, see Ephesians 1:13, 14) and it remains for eternity. For such a person, his flesh will be destroyed. He will suffer all the hardships of any other person following that path.

But Paul says there is a difference in his final end when he completes his thought. Instead, he is handed over to Satan so that “his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Though his rewards will be lost (see 1 Corinthians 3:12-15), though his body may be tormented and afflicted (1 Corinthians 5:5), and though he will suffer much in this life (see 1 Timothy 1:18-20), he still retains the promise of God; the surety of the sealing of the Spirit unto eternal life.

In this, and for a jillion other reasons, doctrine does matter. To believe otherwise concerning this issue is to believe that God will not keep His promises. Instead, our salvation would be up to us, not Him. Further, the one to decide such “eternal” matters would then be the pastor or preacher who teaches this aberrant doctrine in the first place. Talk about bondage! If your position is based on your faults and those faults are decided by another human, then these two things have happened –

1) The human teacher has elevated himself to an untouchable level and has obtained complete control over the actions (which are still earthly and failing) of those under him. He becomes the ruler of the prize and the one to decide any and every facet of the spiritual life of those under him.

2) The person who so believes this concept has subordinated themselves not to Christ, but to the decisions of another fallen soul. They now place their trust in the decisions of a lesser, not the Greater. And this is exactly what Paul has been speaking about for four full chapters – unhealthy divisions!

It is the word of God which establishes our doctrine, nothing more, nothing less. Be approved, stand approved, and hold fast to the truth of the message God has given.

Life application: Once saved means always saved. Jesus Christ doesn’t make mistakes.

Well Lord, despite what any other person says, I will trust Your word in all matters of life, faith, and practice. Teachers can be as wrong as they desire and for whatever personal reason they choose, but I will hold to Your word alone. When a dispute arises, I will check the context; when a disagreement comes up, I will pray to You for clarity; and when I have finished my evaluation, I will place myself and my doctrine in Your capable hands. Guide me, be my Teacher through Your word, and keep me from unsound theology. This is my prayer. I desire to be pleasing to You above all else. Amen.

1 Corinthians 5:4


Saturday, 7 June 2014

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,… 1 Corinthians 5:4

This verse introduces the sentence which Paul recommends to be executed on the offender he has been speaking about since verse 1. The next verse will be the pronouncement of the sentence. His words give us insights into the apostolic authority and also its limitations. Although there are no true apostles today, we can discern proper church discipline from his words.

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” indicates the ultimate authority of church matters. It is the Lord’s church and He is the head of it. When actions of this nature are taken, they are done so in His name. No other authority would make sense. Stating that a judgment is made in the name of the pope would be to supplant the authority of Christ Himself. That, or any other such title of power, would be less than the ultimate authority and thus no true authority at all.

“When you are gathered together” indicates that the church is to be kept informed of such decisions and actions and, although not necessarily involved directly in the decision, they are to be witnesses of it. Elsewhere, the authority of elders is noted and explained. They have a proper position within the church and they have been selected to make the final judgments.

This goes all the way back to the first such established church recording which is the Council in Jerusalem in Acts 15. There at that meeting, the apostles were gathered and they spoke. However, the final decision was rendered not by them, but by James, the Lord’s brother, who wasn’t even a named apostle. As it’s leader, it was his judgment which was accepted and acted upon.

Paul then notes, “along with my spirit.” This is like saying, “This is my decision on the matter. Act on it as if I were there speaking at this council.” Those in the church had the right to reject his words, but they would be rejecting God’s appointed counselor if they did. Now his words, and those of the other apostles chosen to write portions of the Bible, are recorded for us. We should always go to the Bible for our instruction and then render our decisions based on it.

To reject it would be comparable to those in Corinth rejecting Paul’s words here. It would be a decision not rendered according to the will of Jesus Christ and thus it would be devoid of “the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This final section of the verse shows that this “power” was in fact granted to Paul for such matters. Rejecting his determination (which they could do) would be to reject the determination of Christ Himself. We stand in the same position now because God’s word is complete and ready for our use in such matters.

Today, rather than the apostles, we have the Bible which was given under divine inspiration for our guidance in all matters. From this source, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are to allow our elders to render their decisions concerning such related church matters.

Life application: What authority is your church relying upon for their doctrine, practice, and judgments? If it is claimed to be “Holy Ghost power,” then it had better line up with what the Bible states (because the Bible was given under inspiration of the Holy Ghost) or it isn’t “Holy Ghost Power.” If it is claimed to be formal Council decisions of the past or some type of catechisms, then they need to line up with the Bible as well. If they don’t, then there is no true power from the Lord in them. No matter what authority is claimed, it must be in accord with the words of Scripture or it is false authority for such matters.

Thank You Lord for the words of Scripture. They have been given under divine inspiration and so I know that I can go to them for all matters of life, faith, and practice. You have spoken, and although the Bible is large, I know that it is the best place for me to go to know Your heart, intent, and plan for me. Thank You for the Bible, your superior word. Amen.