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A Little Leaven

A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. Galatians 5:9

What is leaven? Leaven can be defined in two ways:

  1. A substance such as yeast or baking powder used to make batter or dough rise
  2. Any influence spreading through something and working on it to bring about a gradual change

What type of leaven is being talked about in Galatians 5:9? The leaven believers are being warned against in Galatians 5:9 is false teaching. By reading the entire passage of Galatians 5:1-12, you will learn that some had come to teach them that they must be circumcised to be saved (Acts 15:1), that is why Paul tells them in verse 6, that it is faith not their state of circumcision that has meaning.

Is this the only example of false teaching being a form of leaven? No, JESUS Himself warned His disciples against the teaching and actions of the Pharisees and Herod (Matthew 16:6-12, Mark 8:15, Luke 12:1-3)

So is false teaching the only form of leaven? No, sin in any form is leave (1 Corinthians 5:6-8, Ephesians 4:22-32), if we go back to Galatians 5:7, we learn the reason false teaching is leaven. False teaching causes one to be hindered in their obedience to the truth, so false teaching causes one to sin (Job 24:13, Romans 2:8, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 Peter 4:17).

What would be an example of false teaching causing one to sin? There are many examples in our daily life, but here I will give two examples found in expressions used by “christians”:

1) “christians are not perfect, they are forgiven”, what does this expression teach you? That as a christian you are going to sin, so just seek forgiveness instead of perfection. From Scripture let’s demonstrate why this false teaching is counter to The WORD of GOD:

  • GOD tells us to be perfect for He is perfect (Matthew 5:48, Genesis 17:1, Leviticus 20:26, 2 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Peter 1:15-16)
  • GOD shows us that perfection is maturity in CHRIST (Philippians 3:12-15, James 1:4)
  • GOD commands us to strive for perfection (Luke 13:24, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Philippians 2:12, 1 Timothy 4:7-10, 2 Peter 1:5-10)

2) “you care living law”, this is a new expression that has the same meaning as an older one “you are under grace not under the law”. These expressions are teaching you to ignore the Old Testament and GOD’s laws contained within it, and they too are false teachings that run counter to The WORD of GOD:

  • Let’s look first at what JESUS said about The Law, and what He says about those who teach not to observe GOD’s Laws in Matthew 5:17-20
  • When we are saved, GOD writes His laws upon our heart (Jeremiah 31:33-34, Ezekiel 36:25-27, Romans 2:14-15, Hebrews 10:15-17), so we should indeed be living the law!
  • GOD tells us that it is the doers of The LAW (Romans 2:12-13, Matthew 7:21-23, James 1:22, 1 John 3:4) that will be justified
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