Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. — 1 Corinthians 5:6-7
Several years ago, I worked at the headquarters of a bank that had a large number of customers. The record of the customers’ banking transactions was maintained on a powerful central computer. Periodically, due to memory space limitations, it was necessary for us to remove old transaction information from our computer system. We called this process a “system purge.” Leaving the old information in the system caused the computer to respond slowly and created a potential for great problems, including the corruption of records or even a possible system crash.
Paul instructed the church at Corinth to purge pride, partiality, and immorality from their lives and fellowship, just as the Children of Israel were instructed to purge yeast, or leaven (which was symbolic of sin), from their homes prior to partaking of the Passover meal. A careful search was made for any speck of leaven that had escaped scrutiny.
We, too, must keep our lives, homes, and churches free from anything that would contaminate us spiritually. Christ, our Passover sacrifice, has already paid the price for our freedom from sin by giving His own life. How could we then tolerate in our lives any of those elements for which our Savior paid such a tremendous price? Christ died to make us holy, not to leave us struggling in our sins. We should celebrate our deliverance from the bondage of sin with lives of sincerity and truth, just as Paul instructed the Corinthians.
Avoid a “system crash” in your life. Keep sin out!
Chapter 5 begins the second major division of the Book of 1 Corinthians. Although the Corinthian converts had broken from idolatry and stepped out of the corruption of their society to form a local church, it was imperative for them to realize that the Gospel does not tolerate sin. There must be a clean break from the old sinful lifestyle, and it was at this point the Corinthian believers had faltered. Ethical and moral purity had degenerated to the level of public scandal. In this passage, Paul addressed the immoral behavior that had been reported in the life of one in the church, and even worse, those who refused to deal with it.
Paul was very aware of the sensual and licentious practices prevalent at Corinth, but he also knew that the Gospel dealt completely with sin. He knew that Christianity centered in the Cross and that Christ died to make men holy. Thus, he regarded any situation that allowed sin, or opposed a life of holiness, as a perversion of the Gospel.
The problem Paul addressed in this chapter was incest. While it was commonly regarded as a particularly foul situation — one that was contrary to social standards and religious practices, as well as being abhorrent to God — Paul was especially concerned about the reaction of the church to the situation. It is not clear why the church had not dealt with the guilty individual, but it is clear that the church was immobilized regarding the situation.
Verses 3-5 reveal how discipline was administered in the Early Church. Paul’s pronouncement of judgment showed concern for the offender but also the urgent necessity of protecting the Church from the infiltration of sin. Paul challenged the congregation to “purge out therefore the old leaven,” referring to the commandment for a Jewish family to get rid of all leaven in preparation for the Passover.
In the interest of maintaining purity, Paul commanded the believers “not to keep company” with the offender. The phrase translated here means, “to mingle together with,” and implies a close, habitual relationship.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. Answer to reports
B. The problem of social irregularities
1. Immorality (5:1-13)
a. The problem (5:1-2)
b. The condemnation (5:3-5)
c. The command of Paul (5:6-8)
d. The clarification of Paul (5:9-13)
Jesus gave His life that we could live free from sin. Have you experienced the Lord’s purging of sin in your life?