Scripture: I Corinthians 5:1-8
Key verse: (7) “Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch . . .”
Reflection: The Apostle Paul faced challenges with the small church in Corinth. They embraced Christ, but struggled to let go of old ways. In our passage today, he uses the metaphor of cleaning out “old yeast” to describe what they needed to do in order to be a community of faith. In this particular case, a man is living with his father’s wife. This kind of relationship was prohibited by the Jews, and by Roman Gentiles. The people in the church did nothing in response to this man’s activity. They did nothing to save their brother in Christ. Instead, they let the “leaven of sin” grow in their community.
We face similar challenges today. We ignore what we know is wrong because we don’t want to appear judgmental. All of us are capable of sin, so we are hesitant to point it out in another. Yet, we are called to clean out the “old leaven” in order to fulfill the calling to live our lives differently. In spite of the myriad influences we can fall prey to, we are called to be vigilant in our pursuit of holiness, both as individuals and as a church. We are called to live a different kind of life in which we turn away from evil and turn toward Jesus. This can be a struggle. So, it’s important to learn how to depend on each other for loving accountability and forgiveness.
You may have done something that you know is wrong. If you are truly sorry and want to change your life, God offers restoration and the community of faith offers support. Commit yourself to live a holy life – not with arrogance or pride – but with humility, and see what begins to happen. Each of us is a new creation in Christ. Let’s live this way.
Prayer: Holy God, in your presence we see our weaknesses and our sin. You expose the places where we harbor evil and self-satisfying pride. Forgive us. Show us how to live holy lives that will reflect the gift of faith to others. Break down barriers of indifference that keep us from drawing closer to you. Help us to gently restore a brother or sister by speaking the truth in love. Transform us from the inside out and accomplish in us what we are unable to do for ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].