1 Corinthians 5:7
(7) Purge out therefore the old leaven.--It is not the offending man who is here spoken of, but it is the spirit in the Church which tolerated the evil, and which is to be purged out of their midst that they may become actually (a new lump) as they are by profession (unleavened).

Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.--Better, Christ our passover is slain; "for us" is not in the best MSS. The word translated "sacrifice" is generally used in the New Testament in the sense simply of "slaying" or "killing" (Matthew 22:4; John 10:10; Acts 10:1; Acts 10:13; Acts 11:7); and in the similar expressions regarding our Lord (Revelation 5:6; Revelation 5:12) the word is "wounded."

Verse 7. - Purge out therefore. The word "therefore" is absent from the best manuscripts, and the abruptness is more emphatic without it. No doubt the metaphor was suggested by the fact that St. Paul was writing about the time of the Passover (Acts 16:8). The most essential requisite of the Jewish regulations, with which his whole training had made him so familiar, was the absolute putting away, and even destruction, of every trace of leaven, which was diligently sought for the day before the Passover began. The putting away of leaven was a type of sanctification. The old leaven. "Old" as belonging to their unregenerate and unconverted condition; a remnant of the day when they had been Gentiles and Jews who had not known Christ. The least willing tolerance of the taint would cause it to work throughout the whole society. As ye are unleavened. Leaven is the type of evil in its secret and corrupting workings. Ideally, Christians can only be addressed as "unleavened," i.e. as "purged from their own old sins" (2 Peter 1:9); and it is the method of Scripture (indeed, it is the only possible method) to address Christians as being Christians indeed, and therefore in their ideal rather than their actual character. Some have taken these words to mean, "You are actually keeping the Passover, and therefore have no leaven among you;" but

(1) the words cannot bear this meaning; nor

(2) was St. Paul likely to appeal so prominently to a Jewish ordinance; and

(3) he is thinking of the Christian Easter, and only borrowing a casual illustration from the Jewish Passover. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; rather, in the true reading, for our passover also was sacrificed - even Christ. As Christians, the Gentile Corinthians certainly did not keep the Jewish Passover; but St. Paul reminds them that they too had a Passover - that for them, too a Paschal Victim had been offered, whose sacrificial blood had been shed for their redemption (John 1:29; John 19:36; 1 Peter 1:19). (Comp. Hebrews 13:10, "We have an altar.")

5:1-8 The apostle notices a flagrant abuse, winked at by the Corinthians. Party spirit, and a false notion of Christian liberty, seem to have saved the offender from censure. Grievous indeed is it that crimes should sometimes be committed by professors of the gospel, of which even heathens would be ashamed. Spiritual pride and false doctrines tend to bring in, and to spread such scandals. How dreadful the effects of sin! The devil reigns where Christ does not. And a man is in his kingdom, and under his power, when not in Christ. The bad example of a man of influence is very mischievous; it spreads far and wide. Corrupt principles and examples, if not corrected, would hurt the whole church. Believers must have new hearts, and lead new lives. Their common conversation and religious deeds must be holy. So far is the sacrifice of Christ our Passover for us, from rendering personal and public holiness unnecessary, that it furnishes powerful reasons and motives for it. Without holiness we can neither live by faith in him, nor join in his ordinances with comfort and profit.Purge out therefore the old leaven,.... Meaning either the incestuous person, whose crime might well be compared to sour "leaven", and be called old because of his long continuance in it; whom the apostle would have removed from them; this is properly the act of excommunication, which that church was to perform, as a quite distinct thing from what the apostle himself determined to do. The allusion is to the strict search the Jews made (g), just before their passover after leaven, to purge their houses of it, that none of it might remain when their feast began; which they made by the light of a lamp, on the night of the fourteenth of the month Nisan, in every secret place, hole, and corner of the house: or this may be an exhortation to the church in general with respect to themselves, as well as this man, to relinquish their old course of sinning, to "put off concerning the former conversation the old man", Ephesians 4:22 the same with the old leaven here; it being usual with the Jews (h) to call the vitiosity and corruption of nature , "leaven in the lump"; of which say (i),

"the evil imagination of a man, as leaven the lump, enters into his bowels little, little, (very little at first,) but afterwards it increases in him, until his whole body is mixed with it.''

That ye may be a new lump; that they might appear to be what they professed to be, new men, new creatures in Christ, by their walking in newness of life; and by removing that wicked person, they would be as the apostles were, when Judas was gone from them, all clean through the word of Christ:

as ye are unleavened; at least professed to be. They were without the leaven of sin; not without the being of sin in their hearts, nor without the commission of it, more or less, in their lives; but were justified from it by the righteousness of Christ, and had the new creature formed in their souls, or that which was born of God in them, that sinned not. The apostle compares the true believers of this church to the unleavened bread eaten at the passover, for the grace of their hearts, and the simplicity of their lives; as he does the incestuous man to the old leaven, that was to be searched for, and cast out at the feast:

for even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. This is observed, to show the pertinency of the similes of leaven and unleavened, the apostle had made use of; and to make some further improvement of them, for the use, comfort, and instruction of this church; saying, that Christ is "our passover", the Christians' passover; the Jewish passover was a type of Christ; wherefore Moses kept it by faith, in the faith of the Messiah that was to come; see Hebrews 11:28 as it was instituted in commemoration of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, so likewise to prefigure Christ, and the redemption of his people by him. The Jews have a saying (k),

"that in the month Nisan they were redeemed, and in the month Nisan they will be redeemed;''

which was the month in which the passover was kept; and for the confirmation of which, they mention the following texts, Micah 7:15. There is an agreement between the passover, and Christ, in the sacrifice itself, and the qualities of it; it was a "lamb", as Christ is the "Lamb" of God, of his appointing and providing, and fitly so called, for his innocence and harmlessness, his meekness, humility, and patience; it was a lamb "without blemish", as Christ is, without spot and blemish, without the spot of original sin, or blemish of any actual transgression: it was a male, as Christ is the son or man, the head of the body, and the "firstborn" among many brethren; it was a male of the first year; in which it might prefigure Christ in the flower of his age, arrived at man's estate, and having had experience of a variety of sorrows and afflictions. There is also some likeness between them in the separation and slaying of it. The passover lamb was to be "taken out from the sheep, or from the goats"; as Christ's human nature was chosen out from among the people, and, in God's eternal counsel and covenant, separated from the rest of the individuals of human nature, and taken into a federal union with the Son of God, and preordained before the foundation of the world, to be the Lamb slain; it was also wonderfully formed by the Holy Ghost in the virgin's womb, and separated and preserved from the infection of sin; and in his life and conversation here on earth, he was separated from sinners, from being like them, and is now made higher than the heavens. This lamb was kept up from the "tenth" of the month, to the "fourteenth", before it was killed; which might typify preservation of Christ, in his infancy, from the malice of Herod, and, in his riper years, from the designs of the Jews upon him, until his time was come; and it is to be observed, that there was much such a space of time between his entrance into Jerusalem, and his sufferings and death; see John 12:11. The lamb was "slain", so the Prince of life was killed; and "between the two evenings", as Christ was in the end of the world, in the last days, in the decline of time, of the age of the world, and even of the time of the day, about the "ninth" hour, or three o'clock in the afternoon, the time between the two evenings; the first evening beginning at noon as soon as the sun began to decline, the other upon the setting of it. There is likewise a comparison of these together to be observed, in the dressing and eating of it. The passover lamb was not to be eaten "raw nor sodden"; so Christ is to be eaten not in a carnal, but in a spiritual way, by faith; it was to be "roast with fire", denoting the painful sufferings of Christ on the cross, and the fire of divine wrath that fell upon him; it was to be eaten "whole", as a whole Christ is to be received by faith, in his person, and in all his offices, grace, and righteousness; not a "bone" of it was to be "broken", which was fulfilled in Christ, John 19:36 it was to be eaten "with unleavened bread", which is spiritualized by the apostle in the next verse; and also with "bitter herbs", expressive of the hard bondage and severe afflictions, with which the lives of the Israelites were made bitter in Egypt; and significative of the persecutions and trials that such must expect, who live godly and by faith in Christ Jesus: it was eaten only by Israelites, and such as became proselytes, as Christ, only by true believers; and if the household was too little, they were to join with their "neighbours"; which might typify the calling and bringing in of the Gentiles, when the middle wall of partition was broken down, Christ, his flesh and blood being common to both. The first passover was eaten in haste, with their loins girt, their shoes on, and staves in their hands, ready to depart from Egypt to Canaan's land; denoting the readiness of believers to every good work; having their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; their loins girt about with truth, their lights burning, and they like men waiting for their Lord's coming; hasting unto the day of the Lord, being earnestly, desirous of being absent from the body, that they might be present with him: in a word, the receiving of the blood of the passover lamb into a bason, sprinkling it on the lintel, and two side posts of the doors of the houses, in which they ate it, which the Lord seeing passed over those houses, when he passed through Egypt to destroy the firstborn, whence it has its name of the passover, were very significative of the blood of sprinkling, even the blood of Christ upon the hearts and consciences of believers; whereby they are secured from avenging justice, from the curse and condemnation of the law, and from wrath to come, and shall never be hurt of the second death. Thus Christ is our antitypical passover, who was sacrificed, whose body and soul were offered as an offering and sacrifice unto God for us, that he might be proper food for our faith; and also in our room and stead, to make satisfaction to divine justice for all our sins and transgressions.

(g) Misn Pesachim, c. 1. sect. 1. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Chametz Umetzah, c. 2. sect. 3, 4. (h) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 7. 4. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 17. 1. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 29. 4. Caphtor, fol. 38. 2. & 41. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 73. 2. 84. 4. 86. 1. 87. 3. 95. 3, 4. & 119. 4. Baal Hattarim in Lev. ii. 11. (i) Zohar in Exod. fol. 71. 3.((k) T. Bab. Roshhashana, fol. 11. 1, 2. Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Exod. fol. 49. 3.

1 Corinthians 5:6
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