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Christ Our Passover Lamb

1 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV) … “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”

Purge out therefore, &c. Put away; free yourselves from.

The old leaven. The apostle here takes occasion, from the mention of leaven, to exhort the Corinthians to put away vice and sin. The figure is derived from the custom of the Jews in putting away leaven at the celebration of the passover. By the old leaven he means vice and sin; and also here the person who had committed the sin in their church. As the Jews, at the celebration of the passover, gave all diligence in removing leaven from their houses—searching every part of their dwellings with candles, that they might remove every particle of leavened bread from their habitations—so the apostle exhorts them to use all diligence to search out and remove all sin.

That ye may be a new lump. That you may be like a new mass of flour, or dough, before the leaven is put into it. That you may be pure and free from the corrupting principle.

As ye are unleavened. That is, as ye are bound by your Christian profession to be unleavened, or to be pure. Your very profession implies this, and you ought, therefore, to remove all impurity, and to become holy. Let there be no impurity, and no mixture inconsistent with that holiness which the gospel teaches and requires. The apostle here does not refer merely to the case of the incestuous person, but he takes occasion to exhort them to put away all sin. Not only to remove this occasion of offence, but to remove all impurity, that they might become entirely and only holy. The doctrine is, that Christians are by their profession holy, and that therefore they ought to give all diligence to remove every thing that is impure.

For even Christ, &c. As the Jews, when their paschal lamb was slain, gave great diligence to put away all leaven from their dwellings, so we Christians, since our passover is slain, ought to give the like diligence to remove all that is impure and corrupting from our hearts.—There can be no doubt here that the paschal lamb was a type of the Messiah; and as little that the leaven was understood to be emblematic of impurity and sin, and that their being required to put it away was intended to be an emblematic action designed to denote that all sin was to be removed and forsaken.

Our passover. Our paschal lamb, for so the word πάσχα usually signifies. The sense is, “We Christians have a paschal lamb; and that lamb is the Messiah. And as the Jews, when their paschal lamb was slain, were required to put away all leaven from their dwellings, so we, when our paschal lamb is slain, should put away all sin from our hearts and from our churches.” This passage proves that Paul meant to teach that Christ had taken the place of the paschal lamb—that that lamb was designed to adumbrate or typify him—and that consequently when he was offered, the paschal offering was designed to cease. Christ is often in the Scriptures compared to a lamb. See Isa. 53:7; John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:6, 12.

Is sacrificed for us. Margin, Or slain (ἐτυθη). The word θύω may mean simply to slay or kill; but it is also used often in the sense of making a sacrifice as an expiation for sin, Acts 14:13, 18; 1 Cor. 10:20; comp. Gen. 31:54; 45:1; Ex. 3:18; 5:3, 8, 17; 8:8, 25–29; 13:15; 20:24; 1 Chron. 15:26, where it is used as the translation of the word צבח, to sacrifice. It is used as the translation of this word no less than ninety-eight times in the Old Testament, and perhaps always in the sense of a sacrifice, or bloody offering. It is also used as the translation of the Hebrew word טבח, and שחט, to slay, to kill, &c. in Ex. 12:21; 1 Kings 11:19; 1 Sam. 25:11; 2 Chron. 29:22, &c.; in all in eleven places in the Old Testament. It is used in a similar sense in the New Testament, in Matt. 22:4; Luke 15:23, 27, 30; John 10:10; Acts 10:13; 11:7. It occurs no where else in the New Testament than in the places which have been specified.—The true sense of the word here is, therefore, to be found in the doctrine respecting the passover. That that was intended to be a sacrifice for sin is proved by the nature of the offering, and by the account which is every where given of it in the Old Testament. The paschal lamb was slain as a sacrifice. It was slain in the temple; its blood was poured out as an offering; it was sprinkled and offered by the priests in the same way as other sacrifices; see Ex. 23:18; 34:25; 2 Chron. 30:15, 16. And if so, then this passage means that Christ was offered as a sacrifice for sin—in accordance with the numerous passages of the New Testament, which speak of his death in this manner (see Note, Rom. 3:25); and that his offering was designed to take the place of the paschal sacrifice, under the ancient economy.

For us. For us who are Christians. He died in our stead; and as the Jews, when celebrating their paschal feast, put away all leaven, so we, as Christians, should put away all evil from our hearts, since that sacrifice has now been made once for all.[1]

[1] Barnes, A. (1884–1885). Notes on the New Testament: I Corinthians. (R. Frew, Ed.) (pp. 87–88). London: Blackie & Son.

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