You must remove the old yeast of sin so that you will be entirely pure. Then you will be like a new batch of dough without any yeast, as indeed I know you actually are. For our Passover Festival is ready, now that Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us celebrate our Passover, then, not with bread having the old yeast of sin and wickedness, but with the bread that has no yeast, the bread of purity and truth. (verses 7, 8)
Read 1 Corinthians 5:1-8
Two things speak to us strongly today. First, Paul never stops addressing these people as fellow Christians. Despite the things that are wrong, despite their tolerance of things intolerable, they are still people who have God’s grace, who are God’s people. He does not treat them as people who aren’t Christian, or are no longer Christian, but as Christians who need to be reminded of who they are and whose they are, and he urges them to be what they are.
Second, we are in no position to judge. Each Christian congregation has people in it who, from time to time, act lovelessly, not living the kind of life God would have them lead.
So Paul speaks to us, too. The open, totally impenitent sinner may have to be disciplined, and a congregation may need to be reminded of just who they are. But, like Paul, we too need to regard our brothers and sisters as people of God, and we need to encourage them to be who and what they are.
Starting with me.
Father, I too need your word of truth, spoken in love. Open my heart to hear you speak through others, so that I too may be what you have made me to be. Amen.
by Bob Turnbull, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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