CLVII. The Old Leaven.

1 COR. v. 7, 8. “Purge out
therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are
unleavened, for even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;
therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither
with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the un-
leavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

THERE are few things that so press upon the mind and
heart as the presence of evil among us. It is not merely
the presence of misery, nor merely the presence of that
visible sin which is so much the cause of it; but it is the
wound to our moral nature that bleeds inwardly, which is
an affront against the majesty and mercy of God. Those
who groan under this burden, hear, not without a gleam of
hope, this exhortation of the apostle.
I. The deep meaning of the phrase, leaven of sin.
Leaven exercises one of the subtlest and strangest powers
of nature. So sin acts in single souls and in great societies.
It is not enough to take away the consequences; we must
purge out the leaven.
II. How is the leaven to be purged out? Paul did not
appeal to the sense of shame or expediency, or any lower
motive. He used the highest and most sacred motive:
“Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” Nothing but the
truth and grace of God, as revealed in Christ, can take
away sin.
The news of Christ our Passover was—
1. A message for the past. Wrath shall never touch
those for whom His blood was shed, unless they trample it
under foot, and count it as a common thing.
2. A message for the future. It would have been a
small boon for the Israelites to be delivered from the land
of Egypt had they been left in the land of Egypt still. So
Christ saves us not only from the consequences of sin, but
from sin itself. He hallows our human nature, and renews
it in the image of God, to dedicate it once more to the
Father which is in heaven.
Alfred Barry, D.D.

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