Taking Sin Seriously (1 Corinthians 5:6) - Radical

Taking Sin Seriously (1 Corinthians 5:6)

“Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump.”
– 1 Corinthians 5:6

We’re looking at 1st Corinthians 5:4 and 5, and how excommunicating someone from the church for unrepentant sin is good for that person. The hope is they would see the seriousness of sin and be drawn back to Christ. But this is not just good for that person. This is also good for the church. So the whole picture here in verse six is a little leaven, leavens the whole lump.

Father, we need help to flee from sin. Help us to see sin for what it really is, wage war on it, and run into Your kind arms.

1 Corinthians 5:6 Shows Us the Gravity of Unrepentant Sin

So the whole picture is like with bread, if you have a little bit of bad in the leaven there, it can affect the whole lump. Maybe another picture similar to this could be a bottle of water, one drop of poison. Is it that big a deal? It’s just one drop in a whole bottle. Well I wouldn’t drink the bottle. I don’t think you would either. A little bit makes a big difference. And that’s the picture that Paul is saying here is when you allow unrepentant sin in the church and you don’t address that, you don’t confront that lovingly and graciously. Maybe we’ll talk about that a little bit more in one of these verses, the process for going about this.

But if you don’t do that, then unrepentant sin just grows in the church and starts to affect all kinds of other people and has all kinds of other tentacles that are unhealthy for the church. And we want to make sure to guard the holiness of the church for the good of the brothers and sisters and the church. That’s what Paul is saying, for the good of the church. Yes, for the salvation of this person and for the good of the church, for the holiness of the church. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. So be serious about sin in all of your lives. You want to have a culture that views sin seriously in the church.

1 Corinthians 5:6 Encourages Us to View Grace Properly

Like yes, views grace as awesome and showers grace on each other and it’s forgiving of each other and celebrates forgiveness in Christ. But not in such a way that sin just becomes no big deal. No, sin is a huge deal. It’s a really serious, infinitely, eternally serious, ultimately before God issue.

So God, we pray for a proper seriousness about sin in your church, in our lives. Not just church in general, or the specific local church we’re a part of, but in each of our lives in my life and the lives of those who are praying to this right now, God, we pray. We pray that you would help us to see sin for what it is. To hate it, to hate sin, to run from it, not to flirt with it, to rationalize it. To flee from it, to run from sin. God, please make us a people who are resisting sin and temptation, hating sin and temptation. And living in holiness and encouraging holiness in one another, because we know that this is the good life. The best life possible is found in obedience to you.

Praying for a Culture of Helping One Another

So we want to nurture a culture where that is what we’re all running after. We’re helping one another, or being gracious to one another in that. And we’re loving one another and caring for another and picking one another up when we fall. But that’s just that we’re not letting one another fall and leaving each other just in the mire and mud of sin in a way that just makes it more comfortable for others to jump in. God, please may it not be so. Make us holy in the churches we’re a part of. God, I pray for the church I pastor. I pray for every church represented in people who are praying this right now. We pray you would make our churches holy. Make our churches holy. You’d help us to hate sin, to love your grace, but to hate our sin. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Together we can change that!