1 Corinthians 5:1-8
5 It is actually reported that there is sexual sin among you. I’m told that a man is living with his father’s wife and is having sex with her. Even people who do not know God don’t commit that sin. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you be filled with sadness instead? Shouldn’t you have put the man who did that out of your church? 3 Even though I am not right there with you, I am with you in spirit. And I have already judged the one who did that, just as if I were there. 4 When you come together in the name of our Lord Jesus, I will be with you in spirit. The power of our Lord Jesus will also be with you. 5 When you come together like that, hand that man over to Satan. Then his sinful nature will be destroyed. His spirit will be saved on the day the Lord returns. 6 Your bragging is not good. It is like yeast. Don’t you know that just a little yeast works its way through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast. Be like a new batch of dough without yeast. That is what you really are, because Christ has been offered up for us. He is our Passover lamb. 8 So let us keep the Feast, but not with the old yeast. I’m talking about yeast that is full of hatred and evil. Let us keep the Feast with bread made without yeast. Let us do it with bread that is honest and true.
What captures my attention straight away in this passage is Paul’s tone of utter disbelief. In the Corinthian congregation there is a man engaging in sexual immorality and THE PEOPLE OF GOD (as in the people who should know better) are not quietly addressing the issue but boasting about it. When I read it I think – how warped is that – until I stop and question myself, are there times when I know I’m doing something childish, or something destructive, and still I do it? Even though I’m a child of God? And sometimes do I even have a sense of pride in it? That would have to be a yes. In the middle of a moment I’ll have complete clarity that I can choose humility and build the relationship, or hold onto pride, and put distance between me and the other person. In honesty, I often value my pride more than the relationship, and so sacrifice the enjoyment of the relationship so I can hold onto my pride.
So what does Paul encourage me to do? Get rid of that pride. Get rid of the yeast of sin that affects my whole being and all my relationships. Just as Paul urged the church to eject the person engaging in sexual immorality from the congregation, because of the damage he was doing, so if I put it in a personal context I need to eject the sin from my world, so that it doesn’t cause any further damage. God, I recognize that I can’t do this on my own; I keep making poor choices that hurt others and me. Please help me with your strength and your grace to choose humility, to eject sin from my life. Thank you that you are more committed to me living a life of freedom, and freedom from sin, than I am. Amen.
Written by Beth Waugh