I’m continuing my study through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church. Chapter 5 is very controversial in some circles. How do you deal with carnal Christians? It’s an issue that every church leader has to face.
As I’ve stated in previous posts, the key attitude is a desire for restoration in the lives of these individuals. Unfortunately, in our generation, many leaders simply ignore the issue, hoping that it will resolve itself. Human nature should warn us that this rarely happens.
In my last two posts, we saw that Paul called for a spiritual separation to take place. First, lifting up this person before God in prayer. Then, if no repentance was forthcoming, surrendering the offender over to the enemy’s kingdom, for discipline.
Why did Paul find it so important to deal with unrepentant sin in the body of believers? Why not ignore what people do in their private lives? The problem is that we’re not just members of an organization, but parts of a body that need to function together.
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast — as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
1 Corinthians 5:6-7
To explain this, Paul uses the illustration of the Passover celebration. During that feast, the Jewish people must remove all yeast from their homes. Any bread baked during that time must be unleavened.
Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, bore our sin to the cross. In that sense, the final Passover Lamb has been sacrificed. We are now in a continual celebration of that feast.
What the apostle is telling us is that sin is like yeast. It needs to be handled in the same way.
I love bread. I love baking bread. There’s nothing like the smell of a fresh loaf when it’s in the oven.
I can tell you about yeast. Once you add it to the dough, there’s no going back. It’s not like picking carrots out of your soup because you don’t like them.
In God’s kingdom, He wants us to deal with the sin before it infects the whole body. As we’ve seen, this involves a work that can only be done in the spirit.
We’re not talking about kicking a member out of the organization. But, in the spirit, taking authority over the sin.
Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:8
Paul is clear that the person is not the yeast. It’s the sin that infects the church that needs to be dealt with.
I’ve heard the saying that, “we need to hate the sin, but love the sinner.” That’s a Scriptural attitude, but it very hard to implement. All too often we end up hating the sinner and ignoring the sin.
I apologize beforehand for my sarcasm, but the following two statements are how some people act.
“It was easy under the Old Covenant. Kill the sinner and the sin is removed.”
Fortunately, we’re under grace now. We’ve been given spiritual weapons with which we can deal with the sin without harming the person bound by the sin. We’re commissioned to “set the captives free.”
It’s time for mature believers to take a stand in the spirit. Through prayer and intercession, we can start the process of cleansing the bride of Christ.
Question: How does not dealing with sin allow it to spread through the church?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi