PHANTOM FEELING……Read 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

My cousin Arthur–well, he wasn’t really my cousin. When my Irish relatives emigrated to America, to Jersey City, New Jersey, in the late 1800’s, their new neighbors were like family and Mrs Ronson became Aunt Flo and Mr Macannerny was Uncle Clive. So, my cousin Arthur, the true nephew of Aunt Flo, who lived in England and was, as a young man, a great cyclist. He rode all over southern England with his mates until he barely missed being hit by a car causing him to hit a rut in the side of the road tossing him off his bike and landing him on the ground right on top of a pointy rock. He never rode again or even walked without the help of calipers and crutches. I remember him telling me that when he looked down at his legs on the ground that day they felt like they were still up in the air just as they had been a mili-second before hitting that rock. He had what many amputees experience–called ‘phantom sensation’ or feeling. They can still feel their lost leg or arm; experiencing a tingling, and sometimes pain and itching where an arm or a leg no longer exist. Phantom feeling. That phenomenon came to mind as I was reading what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians in his first letter chapter 5. ‘Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed’ (verse 7). He’s been writing about how sin can just take off like wildfire in us, others and the church, let alone the world. He urges them to identify the old rapid-rising yeast and just get rid of it. Find the sin, name it, confess it and move on as forgiven children of God. Now, we can’t get rid of our own sins. No way. Only God can do that– and He has by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ. His sacrifice on the Cross, His offering of Himself in our place, doing for us what we could never do ourselves–because of Jesus on the Cross, we are forgiven! When we accept what He’s done for us, that time of belief and faith, of being born-again and converted, that’s when the old yeast has been rid of and the new batch been made… without that old yeast! The apostle says, ‘as you really are’! Did you hear what he said? I hear it but so many times I don’t feel it. I have phantom feeling. Like I’m still carrying around all that guilt on my shoulders. The memories of shame and humiliation, of shiftiness and so-called getting away with things. All those sins of mine that I’ve asked God to forgive and that He has in Jesus Christ, and yet I still carry the weight of what no longer holds true between God and me. Phantom feeling. Am I alone in this? How about you? So, maybe we should start to really read and heed what’s in the Bible. Let it really sink in and soak in our hearts and souls, and accept the newness that God has given us. Forgiveness is not homemade. Not at all. But it’s totally of Him, of Jesus, thinking of me and you on the cross. You and I are new in Him! Believe it! Live like He means it! Get rid of the old yeast! Be the new batch… ‘as you really are’!

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