Reflections: April 9, 2021
Friday of Easter Week
By Alfonso Espinosa
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Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump. (1 Corinthians 5:7)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. "Leaven" here is a metaphor, so Paul is not talking about yeast that makes dough rise. In 1 Corinthians 5:7, "leaven" stands for the old life, the old man, the sinful nature; the flesh. Before you were baptized (or if you were baptized later in life, before you came to saving faith through another means of grace), you were only "leaven," only unregenerate, only against God. The state of being "leaven" is described thoroughly in Romans 5:6-10: You were weak, ungodly, a sinner, and an enemy of God. This condition is so permeating that this leaven infiltrated your very core, or perhaps better said, your heart, so that nothing but more leaven could rise out of you (Matthew 15:18-20). Such leaven spreads to everything you do, and say, and think by nature, all of which is the old leaven of sin and death. In this condition, a person is spiritually dead.
But God in His mercy saw us in this old leavened state, and loved us so much that He gave His Son, Jesus, to come and do something about our old leavened lives. Jesus put on our humanity, became our brother, even while still being Almighty God,and did something about the old leaven. Through Himself, He has given us His perfect unleavened bread, His very body to make our lives holy and unleavened. We now have the new life of Christ that covers our old leaven of sin. His sinless and unleavened life has covered you ever since you were baptized into Him, so that now the Holy Spirit is busy daily doing something in and through you: leading you to confess the old leaven, to "clean it out" according to what Jesus has done for you.
We confess it to God, and through Christ, God takes it from us, and then reminds us where He put it all: on His Son when His Son was on the Cross with all our old leaven. In Christ, God sees you as unleavened. On account of Christ, all the old leaven is gone! You are now His new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty God, You show those in error the light of Your truth so that they may return to the way of righteousness. Grant faithfulness to all who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's Church that they may avoid whatever is contrary to their confession and follow all such things as are pleasing to You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa is the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, CA. He is also the author of two books: Faith That Sees Through the Culture and Faith That Engages the Culture.
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