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UCG-A Bible Insights Thursday, April 11 2019

A feast celebrating sincerity and truth

For people who observe Easter it might come as a surprise to learn that Paul, the Apostle sent to the Gentiles, gave instructions to a mostly Gentile church in Corinth to keep festivals generally regarded as Jewish and not for Christians.

In I Corinthians 5:7 Paul tells the gentile Christians in Corinth Christ is now their sacrificial Passover Lamb, having suffered a brutal death to save us from the penalty of our sins. It’s clear from the context the Christians in Corinth were observing the Passover and not celebrating Easter.

Paul then goes on to explain in verse 8 that as a result of Christ’s sacrifice, they should turn from their old sinful ways of life and live a new, more godly way symbolised by the next feast he tells them to keep. He writes: "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.”

Most people have some familiarity with the Passover from the story of the Exodus, but they may not be so familiar with the the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is observed after the Passover ceremony for seven days. During this time no leaven is eaten, as it is symbolic of sin. The ritual of putting out leaven symbolises doing our best with God’s help to overcome those wrong habits that hurt others and ourselves and are contrary to God’s law.

Paul mentions ‘sincerity and truth’ because these attributes are necessary to build God’s character in our lives. Sincerity has to do with purity of motive and heart, as motive drives our actions and behaviour. Even outwardly good actions can be corrupted if the motive for doing them is wrong.

The second descriptor Paul mentions is ‘truth’. Christians need to have a well educated conscience and study to correctly understand God’s truth, His law and His way of life which tells us what works in life and what doesn’t.

These teachings of the Apostle Paul to the New Testament Christians in Corinth concerning how they should be observing the Passover and the Festival Unleavened Bread have been preserved in the Scriptures down through the centuries as an example for us.

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