Leavened? Unleavened?

1 Corinthians 5 Leavened or Unleavened:

bread-1696166__340“Your boasting is not good.

Do you not know

that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (5:6)

The aroma fills the house with its promise of something good. The stomach growls. The smell tempts the tongue with almost a taste. Homemade bread, risen to perfection and baked to a golden brown, lathered with butter, not the fake stuff, invites the hungry to feast and fills the mind with a memory revisited anytime the fragrance fills the air. Leaven, or yeast in our current English language, makes the bread rise, filling it with volume and lightness that melts in our mouths. This homemade bread is a temptress.

The yeast in bread continues to grow as long as allowed. It steals what it needs from the dough to cause the rising action. Eventually, it grows throughout the dough adding some flavor but mostly air and its own fermentation. Such is sin.

In scripture, leaven is likened to the sin growing in the natural spirit we are born with.* The more we feed it the more it grows until it takes over our thoughts, actions, words, our hearts, and minds. It shouldn’t be ignored but in the spiritual sense, needs purged. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church concerning their ignoring the sin in their body of believers. Not only, was the sin/leaven growing in the one sinning but it was beginning to rise in the body as a whole.

“Clean out the old leaven,

that you may be a new lump,

just as you are in fact unleavened.

For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

Let us therefore celebrate the feast,

not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness,

but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”


The purging needed to begin with the whole before it could be addressed in the one. It would need to be handled with the hope and purpose of restoring the whole to an unhindered fellowship with God and each other. Sin is a contagious disease which we do not avoid as we should. It’s not like other diseases that instantly bring bad symptoms. It appeals to us as the aroma of fresh baked bread. It pleases our human senses. But it does its work internally in our hearts, minds, and spirits. Piece by piece growing its destruction and weakness in us as it slowly fills us with its curse-so slowly, we don’t recognize it until its left its mark on our lives. Its cure is found in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth-a heart sincere in repentance and a mind filled with truth, a heart that receives forgiveness-

“in order

that no advantage be taken of us by Satan;

for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”

2 Corinthians 2:11

For Thought: How long has it been since you asked the Lord to reveal any ‘leaven’ hidden in your heart? Mind? Or spirit?

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11; What do these verses say about restoring fellowship with an erring brother/sister in Christ? What should be our attitude?

Our Prayer: Father, you have given us Jesus Christ. By his death and resurrection you have purged the old leaven of malice and wickedness from us. May we join together, remembering we are one in Christ Jesus, and celebrate for He has filled us with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. May we celebrate his life in us and give you praise.

*Only on a few occasions is it used in a positive sense.(Leviticus 23:17; Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:21) And I hope you will join me Monday for a game of “Knowing”. Have a blessed weekend.

(1 Corinthians 5:6; all scripture quotations from this series in Corinthians are taken from the NASB unless otherwise state.)

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