Today is the first day of Unleavened Bread on God’s Holy Day calendar (Lev. 23:6-8). We just observed Passover, and now we’re starting a season of purging the leaven of sin our of our lives. Even if you’re not one of the Christians observing the Passover season, putting sin our of our lives is a necessary part of our walk with God so I hope you’ll keep reading.
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. 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. (1 Cor. 5:7-8)
In my personal pre-Passover studies, I spent time in Romans 12 and 13. This section of scripture covers what my study Bible calls “practical living.” It lists instruction, reminders, and exhortations that are crucial to our walk as Christians. I found it helpful as a guide for self-examination, and there was one thing in particular that I want to share today.
Time To Wake Up
The last few verses of Romans 13 are a summation of the previous exhortation to practical, godly living, as well as a call to active de-leavening.
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. (Rom. 13:11)
Let’s just pause for a moment and consider this verse. If we have to awake, then that means we’ve fallen asleep much like the ten virgins of Matthew 25:1-13. This subject of spiritual sleepiness also comes up in connection with the Passover.
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Cor. 11:28-31)
Where it talks about judging ourselves, the Greek word is diakrino (G1252). It means to discern, to make a determination, to separate something and come to a judgement. I think of it as sorting through our thoughts, motives and actions to judge them in the light of God’s word. It’s when we stop doing that that we fall asleep. So it follows that when we wake up, we have to go back to the light in order to stay awake.
Putting on Light
We’ll get back to Romans 13 in a moment, but first let’s look at another passage that talks about what to do once we wake up.
You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. (1 Thes. 5:5-8)
Sleepiness on a spiritual level is connected here with darkness and drunkenness. When we fall asleep, we’re stumbling around in a dark place, and we need light to wake us up. This light must come from God, but we also have a responsibility to take what He referees. We have to be the virgins who were ready to fill their lamps when they woke up, not the ones who had to run back to the shops.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. (Rom. 13:12-13)
Once we commit our lives to God, that’s not the end of our responsibilities. He will help us, but we also have a role to play. We can’t put on light by ourselves, or put leaven our by ourselves, but it also doesn’t just happen without any action on our part. God wants us involved in working out our own salvation and resisting sin (Phil. 2:12-13; Rom. 6:12-13).
The Role of Christ
In John 1:9, Jesus is described as “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” it should come as no surprise, then, that both passages we’ve quoted about waking up and walking in the light conclude by talking about Jesus.
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. (1 Thes. 5:9-10)
God has not set us up for punishment, even those of us who have fallen asleep. His own Son died to offer us salvation – -surely He wants us to embrace that opportunity! We have the chance to be like the wise virgins who woke up from their sleep and were still ready to meet the bridegroom.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Rom. 13:14)
If we’re truly committed to putting on the character of Jesus Christ, we can’t try to keep one foot in the world at the same time. Paul tells us here that we shouldn’t make any provisions for fulfilling the lusts of the flesh — there shouldn’t be any part of us that’s holding back from God hoping to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin. Easier said than done, I know, but that should be our goal. Let’s use this Passover season and the days of Unleavened Bread to continue de-leavening our lives, and filling the spaces that are left when we get rid of leaven with the light of Jesus Christ’s mind and character.