Sincerity and truth – what’s the point Paul’s making. I’ve been reading through 1 Corinthians for the last few days. It’s up there as one of my favourite bible books, but I always seem to read it in bits.
I’m reading through it systematically at the moment, however, which is rad. Something that stood out today was this, from 1 Corinthians 5:6-8.
“Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump.Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Paul’s been talking about the cost of discipleship, and the way that the church ought to be unified. The direct context is one where he is strongly rejecting and condemning the sexual immorality that he has heard stories of. He’s saying that because the dough is new, you shouldn’t let old leaven in to corrupt it. New people (those in Christ) should not let previous nature (sin) corrupt them.
I found it really interesting that malice and evil; the things of old, sinful lives, are contrasted directly with “sincerity and truth”.
Obviously, there is some way in which evil is opposite to sincerity and truth. That doesn’t seem too hard to swallow; Satan is the poster boy of evil, and he is known to be a cunning, hypocritical and wily deceiver. That’s his thing.
But sincerity and malice.Malice is basically being nasty or ill-willed. Sincerity is truthfulness and being genuine. That’s a big call. Don’t be nasty, be genuine.
It’s certainly a challenge; is my love, my service and the way I act, always sincere? Is it ever out of pride or selfishness (things Satan loves, because they are evil and malicious)? I’d love to say no, but It’s no point pretending that anyone is free from some pride, and many (including myself) are too easily falling into a sense of self-righteousness.
What we should do? Be sincere and truthful. 2 Thessalonians and Romans both talk about truth a fair bit. The truth of the gospel is what we must harken to, and base everything off. But BEING sincere and truthful is, I believe, something that only happens with continued regeneration and sanctification.
The passover is the image used (and it’s an awesome image), and thus our “unleavened” nature goes right along with the lamb (Christ) – our sincerity and truth happens in light of the sacrifice of Christ.
I’m praying that by the power of the passover lamb (Christ), I may be turned into one who lives in a way that appears good not by deception or malice, but one that is sincerely and truthfully honouring my Lord and Saviour.