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Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians


“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”


Therefore let us keep the feast,

The Jews kept the Old Testament Passover for one week. The “feast” here is not the Lord’s Supper or the Passover but the Christian way of life. The idea is “to keep the festival.” The Greek emphasis is “let us keep on keeping the festival.” The Christian life is like a festival free from wickedness. Christian living is like a perpetual feast that does not exist for a day or a week but an entire life. How can the Corinthian church keep on keeping the festival of the Christian life if they have sin in their midst? The church should be a place of joyous celebration of a believing community.

not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness,

The “old leaven” was the life of the believer before he became a Christian. The Christian cannot constantly live as he did before he became a Christian.

The leaven of “malice” is the desire to hurt someone. “Malice” has a vicious feature to it. It is mental cancer.

Ep 4:31-32, 31Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

The leaven of “wickedness” is the active exercise of hurting someone. It is the actual injury of another person. It is malice in action, malice in deed. There is deliberate malice or active connivance to this sin.

but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

The unleavened Christian life has two characteristics: “sincerity and truth.” The word “sincerity” means unalloyed, pure, unmixed. Sincerity is the expression of a quality that is consistent with what one believes. Motives and actions coincide. There is a transparent uniformity between the two.

The Greek used the word “sincerity” for a pot held up to the sun to determine any cracks. Ancient merchants would paint over cracked pots to mislead the buyer of its worthlessness as a pot. “Sincerity” is a judgment by light of the sun and is established transparency, a pure heart before the Lord.

The second characteristic of an unleavened life is that it lives consistently with “truth.” “Truth” is something consistent with reality. A person who lives according to truth does not compromise what he believes. There are no shams. This person lives with an inner desire for a reality consistent with Christ and all for which He stands.

2 Co 2:17, For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.


Living the Christian life like a festival manifests itself in transparency and consistency with the truth.


God wants marked integrity in living the Christian life like a festival. The convergence of truth and action is the essence of Christian living. To put it another way, it is the application of principles of God’s Word to experience. From the moment we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit begins to rewire our heart for “keeping the festival” of Christian living. He wants us to put aside both the mental desire to hurt others and the actual hurting of others. We want to live with a pure heart that rests its case on truth.

It is not enough to be sincere because we can be sincerely wrong. We may get on a plane to Detroit but, if the plane is going to Los Angels, there is no value in sincerity. Sincerity must always align itself with the truth. So this sincerity is not a Pollyanna attitude or maudlin sentimentality but an attitude and action consistent with truth.

2 Co 1:12, For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.