While the issue of Sin may not be as easily solved as discovering that an evil blob can be stopped if it is frozen (which is what Steve Andrews discovers in the movie), Scripture teaches that God the Father has “stopped sin” in two ways. The first and merely temporary solution to this problem occurred in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:21) and continued with the sacrificial system whereupon the blood of an innocent animal temporarily stopped the deserved punishment for the evil of sin (Lev. 17:10-11). But just as a supermarket coupon is only good for a limited time, so too, the sacrificial system was limited. To permanently remove the stigma of sin, God had to “cover it” in the eternal sense. Enter Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who offers Himself as a sacrifice to cover the eternal damage of sin. As a man, He is akin to those who should pay the penalty. As God He is eternal and therefore permanently removes the penalty which should have been placed upon humankind.
There is no episode in Israel’s history that demonstrates the effects of sin more dramatically than the Exodus. Moses approaches Pharaoh ten times on behalf of the people. But each request to release the Israelites is denied and with each denial comes judgment in the form of a plague upon the Egyptians. The tenth and final plague is the most devastating. The Israelites are commanded to take a lamb, kill it and spread the blood across the lintel and on the doorposts of their homes. They are then to cook the meat, eat it with their sandals on being ready to leave at any moment. Release from their bondage came at a high price- the death of the first born in each Egyptian family including Pharaoh’s. And with each following year that great and terrible night is remembered through the celebration of Passover; the night when the Lord passed over the homes which bore blood on their doors, but judged those which did not have it.
The imagery of sin and judgment is the backdrop of Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 5. Paul is astounded to learn of a grossly immoral relationship within the church (1 Cor. 5:1-2). He is also shocked to learn that the incestuous couple has not been confronted about their relationship and continues to fellowship with the body of believers. Paul’s language may appear harsh to us saying that he has “judged” them and “decided to deliver such a one to Satan” (1 Cor. 5:3-5). It is important to understand the meaning behind these words from Paul’s perspective. The verb here means “to separate, distinguish, discriminate between good and evil, select and choose out the good”. In the New Testament this judgment involves forming or giving an opinion AFTER separating and considering the particulars in a case. In other words, this judgment is not prejudicial; it is a conclusion drawn from comparing God’s desires and commands against the reality of the situation. If those being considered are found lacking but refuse to repent, there is nothing that can be done to avoid the consequences of following sinful desires (other than pray!).
Left unchecked sin issues can multiply like The Blob. They begin as something quite small but expand to a catastrophic size rather quickly. Paul likens this to a lump of leaven which only needs to be a small piece in order to make the bread rise and it doesn’t take long for it to get to work (1 Cor. 5:6). This passage is not the only one which uses leaven to illustrate the insipidness of sin (Mt. 13:33; Lk. 13:21; Gal. 5:9). But Paul makes a significant connection as to why we should “get the leaven out”. It is because “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7). The redemption of Israel from Egypt was a costly one. By using the terminology of Passover to describe the sacrificial death of Christ, Paul demonstrates that our redemption from sin is just as costly, if not more so. Letting sin issues remain dominant in our life, or refusing to acknowledge and confront sinful behavior in the church body will have devastating consequences. Do we want to take Christ’s death so lightly? No, it is best to understand the truth of God’s commands, correctly discern the sin in our lives, and sincerely correct it (1 Cor. 5:7-8).
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
Week of 4/17/2016