Charles Spurgeon

Purging out the leaven

‘Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.’ 1 Corinthians 5:6–8


If you do not walk in the light as Christ is in the light, it is not because he is not willing that you should walk in his light, but because you keep at a distance from him and so walk in darkness. Do you believe that the sad faces among God’s servants are caused by their poverty? Some of the very poorest of saints have been the most joyful. Do you think they are caused by their sicknesses? Why, we have known people confined to the bed of sickness for twenty years, who have found a very heaven below in their chamber of languishing. What is it that makes God’s people look so sad? It is the old leaven; ‘let us keep the feast,’ says the apostle, but it is useless to hope to do so while we keep the leaven.

Perhaps there is one thing which we know to be our duty, but we have not attended to it; that one neglect will break up our festival. He that knows his master’s will and does it not ‘shall be beaten with many stripes.’ Are these stripes to be given in the next world? I do not believe it; it is in this world that erring believers will be beaten, and very often depression of spirit, losses and bereavements happen to a Christian because he has knowingly violated his conscience by neglecting a duty or permitting a sin. Jesus will not commune with neglecters of his will. Jesus will have no leaven where he is. If you tolerate that which is nauseous to him, he will walk contrary to you. ‘Can two walk together, except they be agreed?’ I would with much affection press these considerations upon you.

FOR MEDITATION: Lagging behind Jesus can lead his followers to being amazed and afraid (Mark 10:32). Peter’s experience should be a warning to us that following Jesus afar off (Mark 14:54; John 18:15–16) can so very easily end in tears (Mark 14:72). Chastening is initially a grievous thing (Hebrews 12:11).

C. H. Spurgeon and Terence Peter Crosby, 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 3), (Leominster, UK: Day One Publications, 2005), 353.

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