Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
(I Corinthians 5:7-8, NIV 1984)
I love baking yeast bread. I love the process of kneading the dough, the smell of the house as bread bakes, and the taste of the fresh bread. So it is somewhat disappointing to me to find yeast compared to sin. Lucky for me, this isn’t a literal passage.
Because I bake, however, the analogy here makes perfect sense to me. Yeast is a hardy living organism. Given moisture and a comfortable temperature, yeast proliferates, producing gases in the process that puff up the bread dough and impart a certain flavor.
During Passover the God commanded the Israelites to get all yeast out of their houses at penalty of being cut off from Israel (Exodus 12:34). God took this stuff pretty seriously back then, and He takes sin just as seriously today.
I need to keep cleaning my spiritual house (a lot like my physical house, unfortunately). Sin is sneaky. I think it’s all gone and then there, in some dark corner or under the cabinet, I find a little lump of sin. Perhaps it looks harmless – just a little gossip, everybody’s doing it. But if I let it get warm and comfy there, it will grow, until it spreads through my whole life. The only answer is to get it completely out.
A Christian’s life is one of continual repentance, continual refining to become more like Christ, which is something I’m not sure I realized fully when I was first baptized. But this is not reason to despair. Thankfully, I know that God is faithful to forgive if I confess my sin to Him (I John 1:9).