The Problem With Immoral Church Members; Page 6 of 11 (series: Lessons on 1 Cor.)
by John Lowe
Just like the Jews, when their sacrificial lamb was slain, were careful to remove all leaven from their homes, so we Christians, since our Passover is slain, ought likewise to remove all that is impure and corrupting from our hearts. There can be no doubt here that the sacrificial lamb was a type of the Messiah; and that the leaven was understood to represent impurity and sin, and that their being required to remove it was intended to be a symbolic act designed to signify that all sin was to be removed and disposed of. On the whole, the sacrifice of our Redeemer is the strongest argument for purity and sincerity. How sincere a regard did he show for our welfare, in dying for us! And how terrible a proof was His death of the detestable nature of sin, and God’s hatred of it! Heinous evil that could not be compensated for, except by the shed blood of the Son of God! And shall a Christian love the murderer of his Lord? God forbid.
“Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” is the great doctrine of the gospel. The Jews, after they had killed the Passover, kept the feast of unleavened bread. So must we; not for seven days only, but all our lives. We should die to sin with our Savior, be planted into the likeness of his death by shameful sin, and into the likeness of his resurrection by rising again to newness of life, both internally and externally. We must have new hearts and new lives. Note, the whole life of a Christian must be a feast of unleavened bread. His common conversation and his religious performances must be holy.
CHRIST, OUR PASSOVER
In this verse, Paul declared that Christ is our Passover; but, as in most analogies, there are points of likeness and unlikeness.
1) Points of likeness:
a) In both the Jewish Passover and the Passover of Christians (who is Christ), there is the death of a sinless, blameless victim—“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15; KJV).
b) In both, there is the purpose of deliverance from the wrath of God; in the Jewish Passover, it was from the destruction of the death angel, and for Christians it is from God's eternal wrath—“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8; KJV).
c) In both, deliverance came through a substitutionary death, in their case, that of the lamb, in our case, that of Christ who died for us—“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18; KJV).
d) In both, the slain victim became the food of the redeemed. The Jews actually ate the Passover lamb; and Christians partake of Christ who is their spiritual food—“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:53; KJV).
e) In both, a personal participation on the part of the redeemed was an absolute requirement. The lamb had to be slain for every family; each member had to eat; the blood was sprinkled on every door. Every man must be "in Christ" to be saved—“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13; KJV).
f) In both, the line of demarcation between the saved and lost is clear and emphatic. Egyptians did not partake of the Passover. The evil men of the world do not partake of Christ.
g) In both, there is a pledge of fellowship. Eating together is one of the oldest bonds of fellowship; and, in both dispensations, God made use of this instrument to cement the bonds of fellowship among his people.
2) Points of unlikeness:
a. There is a contrast in the redemptions procured, one being temporary and earthly, the other being heavenly and eternal.
b. There is a contrast in the victims provided. Is not a man of more value than a sheep?
c. There is a contrast in the usefulness of the blood offered, that of animals being unable to take away sin—“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb 10:4; KJV). But the blood of Christ providing remission of sins—“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who
through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:14; KJV).
d. There is a contrast in that which was purged out; in the case of the Jews it is the old leaven of actual bread, but in the case of Christians the purging of sin from the hearts of those saved.
3) The entire institution of the Passover was typical of the entire institution of Christianity:
a. The Passover lamb, sacrificed the first day, was fulfilled by the crucifixion of Christ at the very hours the lambs were slain.
b. The lamb was a type of the person of Christ in that it was innocent and died as a substitution for another, was a male of the flock, and without blemish, and not a bone of it was broken—“He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken” (Psalms 34:20; KJV).
c. Just as the Passover was slain and eaten in Jerusalem so Christ suffered, died, and rose again in the same city.
d. The Passover was typical of the Lord's supper in some ways, though not in others. Both were divinely instituted, both were commemorative, both were continuative, moving for millenniums through history; both began a new kingdom, the Passover that of the Jews; the Lord's Supper distinguished the kingdom of Christ; and in both cases the actual beginning of the kingdom was a little later than the institution of the rite. Who but God could have designed the religious system of Israel, so that all of it would have served to typify and identify the Christ who would come into the world?
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Therefore let us keep the feast,
This is a reference to the keeping of a feast (holy day) or festival, and it is the only place in the New Testament where the word that is designated here as “feast,” is found. It does not refer to the Lord’s Supper and neither does it refer to the Passover feast, since that feast was no longer observed by Christians; but the sense of it is, "As the Jews when they celebrated the Passover supper by killing and sacrificing the Passover lamb, removed all leaven from their homes because it was emblematic of sin, so let us, in the slaying of our sacrifice, and in all the duties, institutions, and events resulting from it, put away all wickedness from our hearts and from our societies and churches. Let us engage in the service of God by putting away all evil."
It is all about the consistent life of the born again believer, spent in spiritual joy and faith in Jesus Christ. (The tense here is present; reliable, steady, unswerving.) It is important to realize that this does not mean only at the Lord’s Table on Sunday, but every day of the week. The seven days of the Jewish feast take into account every day of the week, and represent our entire Christian life here on earth—“All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast” (Prov 15:15; KJV). A person with a merry heart, a believer, more than anyone else in the world, has reason to, "hath a continual feast", of spiritual mirth and pleasure, rejoicing always in Christ, as he ought to do.
The reason for which the apostle has given this advice is found in verse seven—“For Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” This is the grand doctrine of the gospel. The Jews, after they had killed the passover, kept the feast of unleavened bread. So must we; not for seven days only, but every day of our lives. We should die to sin with our Savior, be planted into the likeness of his death by crushing sin, and into the likeness of his resurrection by rising again, internally and externally to newness of life. We must have new hearts and new lives. Note, The whole life of a Christian must be a feast of unleavened bread. His ordinary conversation and his religious activities must be holy.
not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness;
The statement “old leaven” is repeated from verse 7 and emphasizes the importance of purging ourselves free from moral and spiritual corruption. There might be new forms of evil besides those of old habits and associations. “Leaven” also symbolizes malice and wickedness. Under the Christian dispensation we must be saved equally from Judaism, heathenism, and from sin of every kind; malice and wickedness must be destroyed; and sincerity and truth, inward purity and outward holiness, take their place.