(1 Corinthians 5) – “…a little leaven…”
Leaven was a substance, typically yeast, that was added to dough to make it ferment and rise. It puffs things up.
Just a little bit of leaven added to dough would spread throughout the entire entity and effect its transformation.
In addition to being a physical substance, the word “leaven” was used to refer to a powerful influence in life that modified or transformed something. In the bible, it is sometimes symbolic of sin.
In the case of the Corinthian church, this type of leaven existed in the form of sexual sin. It was an entity that was affecting the entire church body and modifying it into something different than it was before.
Paul’s strong admonition to the church comes because the leaven of sin was causing God’s people to look nothing like they were supposed to.
His direction for them was to remove the one who initiated the spread of this harmful spiritual substance.
Whatever it is that’s causing you to not look like Jesus, get it out of your life. Otherwise, it will overtake you and transform you into someone completely different than God intended for you to be.
“Cut off your hand, gouge out your eye…” These are all things that Jesus metaphorically encourages to show the seriousness of sin’s effect on our lives.
During Passover and the week following, no leaven was to be eaten by God’s people. It was the feast of unleavened bread.
Since leaven was a symbol of sin, Israel was disassociating themselves with it as a way of humbly responding to what God had done for them on Passover in Egypt.
Christ is our Passover lamb, and our entire lives should be “feasts of unleavened bread,” where we respond to what Christ has done for us by disassociating ourselves with sin.
This doesn’t mean blocking out unbelievers…if it did we’d have to leave planet earth.
It means purifying our own hearts first, walking with God, and then being careful not to be close with people who claim to know and love Jesus but live a life that says otherwise.
Their leaven will spread to you and affect you. The companion of fools suffers harm, and there is no greater fool than a person who claims to know Christ but lives nothing like it.
So celebrate what Christ has done for you by living in sincerity and truth, not by scorning His sacrifice with debauchery.