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Who Puts Sin Out of Our Lives?

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Who Puts Sin Out of Our Lives?

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The origin of the Passover, the ensuing Days of Unleavened Bread and God’s command to the nation of Israel on how to celebrate these special days form the historical meaning of these days—Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage. They had to obey God’s command to sacrifice the lamb and put the blood on their doorposts to avoid their firstborn being put to death along with the firstborn Egyptians (Exodus 12:1-13, 21-27). 

The power of God was what led to their freedom from Egypt, but they had to walk out. They couldn’t have walked out without God delivering them, but they wouldn’t have been freed if they hadn’t walked out. This offers an historic precedent that illustrates a fundamental principle of God’s plan—faith and trust in God and obedience to Him as a result of that faith—which is the principle of faith and works. 

The instructions are clear and often repeated. The Israelites were given two commands regarding bread: 1. To eat unleavened bread throughout the seven-day period; and 2. Not to eat leavened bread during that seven-day period (Exodus 12:15-20; Exodus 13:3-10; Leviticus 23:6).

There is a vitally important lesson here regarding the process of putting out sin, as well as the answer to the question of who puts out sin.

The Symbolism of Unleavened Bread

First of all, leavening and unleavened bread are symbols that portray the need to put out sin, but the act of putting out leavening does not put out sin.

The Israelites may have dutifully obeyed God’s command to put the leaven out of their quarters and avoid eating leavened bread, but they failed to exercise the faith and works necessary to put sin out of their lives.

So, what does unleavened bread symbolize?

It is significant that unleavened bread is involved in both the Passover service and the Feast of Unleavened Bread that follows on the heels of the Passover. The command to eat unleavened bread was to emphasize God’s deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt (Exodus 13:3), which was so sudden that they didn’t even have time to let the bread rise (Exodus 12:31-39).

But the Bible documents the fact that taking the Israelites out of Egypt did not take Egypt out of the Israelites. In fact, the final incident that led to God refusing to let the generation who left Egypt enter the Promised Land was when they hatched a plan to return to Egypt.

The historical truths symbolized by leaven and unleavened bread form the basis of the spiritual truths in God’s plan of salvation (1 Corinthians 10:1-12), some of which we learn by keeping the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread today under the New Covenant. 

Paul uses leavening (yeast) as a metaphor for the pervasive nature of sin illustrated by the fact that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough. Because a blatant sin by a member of the Corinthian congregation was not being dealt with, Paul commands that the sinner be put out of the church (1 Corinthians 5:1-13): “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). 

The passage explains that the Church collectively was spiritually leavened because of the sin in their midst, not spiritually unleavened. How then were they unleavened? On one level, the simple answer is that they were unleavened because they had put leavening out of their homes, but they were not spiritually unleavened because they had not put the sinner out of their congregation.

So, Paul tells them they need to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not with the leaven of sin in their midst, but with the unleavened (sin-free) qualities of sincerity and truth (verse 8)—i.e. “as an expression of pure or unadulterated motives” (Louw-Nida lexicon).

This incident offers principles regarding who puts sin out of our lives today, and how. Christ died for our sins, so we, with the help of the Holy Spirit, must put sin out of our lives.

An Impossible Task

Another lesson regarding the typology of leaven is that just as it is impossible to get rid of all leaven (although the process of repentance involves putting out sin and doing our best to keep sin out of our lives), it is impossible to put all sin out of our lives. As the apostle John wrote, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

We need the sacrifice of Christ to pay the price and put sin out of our lives: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The unleavened bread in the Passover service and during the Days of Unleavened Bread represents Jesus Christ and His role in putting sin out of our lives.

Our main focus for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread must be our faith in Christ as our Passover sacrificed for us, not only on putting leaven out of our homes (although that is a valuable reminder of our need to do our part in putting sin out of our lives; i.e. faith and “works” [James 2:14-18]).

Revelation 20:6 tells us that the second death (the penalty for unrepentant sin) has no power over those in the first resurrection, because sin will finally be put out of our lives for all eternity!

Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:51-57, New Living Translation).

And thank God for His Holy Days that serve as annual reminders of the wonderful truths of His great master plan.