“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1Cor 5:6-8)
The Christians in Corinth were ‘glorying’ (rejoicing) over things they should weep about. A man who called himself a Christian was living in gross sexual immorality. The other Christians were to rebuke this man but they did not. Apostle Paul said that this man should be “delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”. This sounds very ‘harsh’ to our ears. Why such a drastic measure? Was this not an ‘ordinary’ act of adultery?
To understand what Paul had in mind, we need to remind ourselves about the story of Exodus in the Old Testament. The people of God were in Egypt, in bondage, for 430 years. They tried everything they could to free themselves but they failed. Finally, God sends His servant Moses to confront and defeat Pharaoh, the King of Egypt. God’s judgment is upon Egypt. After experiencing many disasters, Pharaoh finally agrees to let God’s people go to worship Him in the desert. God commands Moses to tell the people that this particular night they will leave the house of bondage. Each family was to sacrifice a year old spotless lamb. The flesh was to be roasted in the fire and eaten with bitter herbs. This bitter meal symbolizes the suffering and sorrow of slavery. The fire is a symbol of God’s consuming sacrifice. This innocent lamb dying for their freedom is a picture of the Cross. They were commanded to eat this meal in a haste, standing, dressed up and with shoes on their feet. The bread was to be baked without yeast. It was called ‘the unleavened bread’. They should carry the remaining unleavened dough on their shoulders. They should destroy every remnant of yeast for the next seven days. Anybody who hides and keeps yeast for baking bread should be ‘cut off’ from Israel (should be killed). The reason for this strange terrible warning was so that they remember that night, the night of their freedom! It was called the Passover night! It was a feast to be celebrated every year!
The leaven or yeast is a small quantity taken from the old dough. It has the power to penetrate the new dough and ferment it. The little yeast works inside, silently and mysteriously until the whole dough is chemically changed. Once added to the dough, the yeast cannot be removed. The Lord told Moses that the reason why His people should eat bread without yeast is because their freedom was purchased quickly. There is no time to wait for the yeast to work and the dough to rise. Spiritually speaking, eating unleavened bread is a symbol of an instant miracle, an automatic deliverance, a quick healing! No time to wait! Once the people obeyed God’s command, they received great favor with the Egyptians who gave them silver and gold. Selah!!!
Apostle Paul says that Christ is our Passover. We too need to remove every form of leaven from our hearts and from our church. Spiritually, the leaven stands for malice, wickedness and religious hypocrisy. Every form of hypocrisy must be repented of and destroyed. If not, the miracle you have been praying for cannot come. Who is a hypocrite? If a man comes to church with two wives, that man is a sinner, an unbeliever or a baby Christian. But he is not a hypocrite. But a married man who calls himself a Christian, who prays, attends church, sings Christian songs and serves God, and has an adulterous affair, that man is a hypocrite. He is not only an adulterer. His sin is not only sexual. He is wicked, a deceiver, a hypocrite. Another example: a man who pays his tithes regularly but steals money in his office, that man is a hypocrite. A couple attends church regularly. But the husband and the wife quarrel on Sunday morning. But in the church they smile and sing choruses. They are hypocrites.
Hypocrisy therefore is the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case. It is pretending to be better than you are in reality. You deceive others that you are a Christian but you are not. This hypocrisy is a poisonous leaven. Once allowed to grow it destroys the whole heart, the whole family or the whole church. Jesus cursed the barren fig tree. He also cursed hypocrisy and the hypocrites. The lesson: for as long as you practice hypocrisy, you are grieving the Spirit! God cannot answer your prayers. You have to choose between your hidden cherished sin of hypocrisy and a healing miracle, a deliverance miracle or a breakthrough miracle. Repent of hypocrisy! Purge that old leaven! Be a new lump, spiritually pure, honest and humble! Then God will prosper you!
As for me and my husband, we are children of God and pastors of a church. We have repented of every form hypocrisy, malice and wickedness. We have opened our hearts to God and to the Body of Christ. We take the risk to be hurt by brethren or by false brethren in our midst. But this risk taken for the sake of love is better than to allow the fermentation of bitterness, malice and occult in our hearts. I pray for you, dear child of God, that these words will stir your conscience! I pray that for Christ sake, you repent of hypocrisy and become free! Then you shall be healed and delivered! In Jesus name, amen!
(In the picture, you see roasted lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread. This is a portion served in a Jewish home at the Passover feast these days).