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I Corinthians 5:7, 8 – “Christ Our Passover”

Anthony Buzzard

In another passage (I Cor. 5:7, 8) Paul applies the same “spiritualizing” principle to the annual Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.” Our Christian Passover is no longer a lamb slain annually but a Savior slain once and for all, with the power to deliver us daily, not once a year. “Let us therefore keep festival, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Cor. 5:8).

We note that the “unleavened bread” which has replaced the literal unleavened bread is the “unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” These are the real spiritual issues, not the matter of cleaning out leaven from our cars and houses for one week in the year. Christians, says Paul, are to be “keeping festival” permanently. The translation in the KJV is misleading, giving the impression that we are to “keep the feast.” The comment of the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is appropriate: “Let us keep festival [a present progressive tense in Greek], referring to the perpetual feast the Christian Church keeps…not the feast, as in the KJV, which would imply some particular festival.”¹

The Mosaic system of law as a set of statutes has been replaced by the law of freedom in the spirit, summed up in the one commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves (Gal. 5:14). In contrast, Paul refers to the Sinai covenant, at which time the ten commandments were given, as leading to bondage: “The covenant which proceeds from Mount Sinai is bearing children who are slaves” (Gal.4:24).

In another passage Paul describes the two tablets of stone, which were probably two copies of the ten commandments, as the “ministry of condemnation and death” (II Cor. 3:9, 7). The ten commandments are definitely not God’s final word to man. They were a provisional code of law to be replaced by a higher set of commandments today centering on the words of Jesus and the Apostles: We are to pay attention to “the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandment of your Apostles appointed by the Lord and Savior” (II Pet. 3:2). These New Covenant words are certainly not just a repeat of Moses.

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(1)
Rev. J.J. Lias, Commentary on I Corinthians, Cambridge University Press, 1899, p. 61.

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