Wednesday, June 17, 2020

1 Corinthians 5

Key verse: 1 Corinthians 5:8
Big idea: When we understand the cross, our lives are changed.

The church at Corinth was proud that some of its members were caught up in notorious sin. They thought it showed their wisdom (they were too refined to get caught up in old fashioned morals) and so they were puffed up. Paul challenged them in the harshest terms: they should have mourned and removed the person from the congregation. But why? The Bible is rarely interested in laying out a commandment without a theological underpinning. It should come as no surprise that in 1 Corinthians, the cross is key. 

Paul wanted the Corinthians to understand that their church was not just a social club or civic organization. The church is something mystical, part of a story that was 1500 years old at the time. When the Israelites were rescued from Egypt, God told them to kill a lamb and put the blood on their doorposts. When He saw the blood, He would pass over them. In commemoration of that every year, the Israelites ate a Passover meal, with a lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Because they had no time to leaven their bread, leaving Egypt in the middle of the night, the Israelites removed all leaven from their homes when they celebrated the feast every year. It was a powerful symbol: a little leaven will spread to a whole load of dough, so a total cleansing was necessary.

The Passover Lamb was the sacrifice of freedom from slavery, as Jesus set them free from slavery to sin. The Corinthians were people of the cross; it was blasphemous for them to act as if they were still enslaved to sin. But it goes farther. Paul explained that the church was the unleavened bread: one load offered up to God. If they tolerated sin, it would spread and make them an unacceptable accompaniment to Christ's sacrifice. They needed to be pure before Him, free from hypocrisy and instead full of sincerity and truth. We need to realize that Jesus is the sacrifice that sets us free, and when we live in that freedom, we are the sacrifice that accompanies Him. 

Discussion idea: Why do you think the Corinthians were proud of tolerating sin? Do you see any similar temptations today? In your life?
Prayer focus: Pray that we would realize that, just as surely as the Israelites were freed from Egypt, the cross has freed us from slavery to sin and would live like it.

No comments:

Post a Comment