Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.1 Corinthians 5: 6-8
I’ve already noted that I am not a mechanic and today it is important to note that I am not a chef or baker, but I can read. While we usually use yeast to cause the dough to rise, people in the first century were more familiar with leaven. According to the note in my study Bible, leaven was fermented dough, a little of which would be left from the previous week to be added to a new lump of dough.
What does leaven have to do with pride and sexual immorality with the church? My study Bible comments that “when publicly known sin in the church is not subjected to church discipline, it will silently spread its destructive consequences throughout the whole fellowship.”
How? It’s all too easy for people to begin to make comparisons and rationalize their own behavior. Instead of living to please God, there is a tendency in each of us to make comparisons, and as long as I live “better” than the next guy… Eventually, Biblical standards are replaced with the attitude that each should only live according to what “was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
Paul recognizes the danger of abandoning Biblical truth and he deals with it swiftly. The question for each of us as followers of Christ then is this: Is there leaven in my life? If so, let’s follow Paul’s lead with lives that prefer sincerity and truth.