Epiphanies. Unannounced, these singular moments open life with explosive understanding. The funny thing is, these new insights come when we’re just living life, doing ordinary things. They can entice us away from our routine ways, reminding us that there is more to grasp, if we’re willing to see.
Epiphany 1: Clean
“You are, in fact, without yeast” (1 Corinthians 5:7 NET).
This phrase from First Corinthians sent a warm flash down my spine. I had been looking at who I was growing up, as well as who I am now. I sank in the mire of regret. For days I couldn’t shake feelings of shame and sadness. And then I read this verse:
“Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough—you are, in fact, without yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7 NET).
The words washed over me with a relieving rush. I am not who I once was. The fact is, the true me, the person I’m becoming, is clean, with fresh life from God.
As I dug into this truth, I learned that “old yeast” or leaven is a small bit of a previous week’s batch of dough that’s been set aside to ferment. It’s what makes bread dough rise, and carrying forward the fermentation process enriches its flavor. That’s all good when it comes to bread-making. It’s life-killing when it happens in our souls.
The apostle Paul was urging the church at Corinth to remove a flagrantly sinning brother before his influence infected others. In my own life, I’m to be done with old ways of living, sinful patterns that would love to persist. Instead, I’m to make choices based on my true reality, my real identity: I am clean, without leaven.
God has given me a new identity in Jesus, and His holy Spirit lives in me. This isn’t a work-harder project. My new identity came through Jesus’ sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection. It never was and is not now based on my own goodness or self-righteousness. And that gives me hope that I can change. Bible professor Gordon Fee puts it this way: “Become what you are.”
What a hope to celebrate! Do you see the joy? Every day we celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice for us (1 Corinthians 5:8). We’re offered forgiveness, cleansing, and the freedom to become “what [we] already are by the grace of God.”*
Hallelujah. Here’s to a new year of living clean!
- Do you sense that you are becoming more like Jesus? In what ways are you seeing growth?
- In what area might Jesus be inviting you to give up an old pattern of living?
- What would it look like to reject that pattern and make new choices?
- How might you celebrate your new life and freedom with Jesus?
*Gordon Fee quoted in Pillar New Testament Commentary, comments on 1 Corinthians 5:7