Tuesday, October 12, 2010
In addition to being concerned about the sinful man’s ultimate redemption, the apostle knew that openly sinful behavior without repentance impacts the whole church. Like yeast, sin “spreads through the whole batch of dough” (5:6). Thus, just as the Jews got rid of food with yeast during their celebration of the Passover, so Christians cleanse their fellowship of sin. “Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us,” Paul writes. “So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth” (5:7-8).Yet how often, in the name of "grace," do we tolerate unrepentant sin in our midst? Grace is expressed not in how we tolerate sin, but in how we rid ourselves of it.
The “festival” of which Paul speaks is not some special religious ceremony. Rather, he uses this language to depict the Christian life. We live each day in the joyous freedom of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Yet this does not mean we should freely sin.
The context of the passage Mark examines is Paul's command to the Corinthians to ex-communicate a man living in sin with his mother-in-law. Mark says:
Yet, this exclusion was not meant merely to punish the offender, but also to help him turn his life around (5:5).Is not "helping him turn his life around" the very definition of grace? Is it graceful to simply tolerate someone's shortcomings? Of course not! And yet, that seems to be where the world is today love=grace=tolerance. Boy are we confused.
God loves us in spite of our sin, but He loves us enough to want us to be sinless. And, as Mark points out, we must be especially sinless corporately. One bad idea easily turns into another and another until the church is unrecognizable as God's house - it has become rather a monument to a false idea of grace.
So what is the sin in your midst?