Saturday, 21 May 2016
A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Galatians 5:9
As least three different major explanations for Paul’s words here have been given. The first is that this is speaking of the doctrine of the Judaizers reinserting the law as a means of obtaining justification before God. The insertion of one small aberrant doctrine, such as circumcision, will lead to another and another until the whole congregation is corrupted.
The second is that there was already among the believers at Galatia a certain tendency to conform to rites and customs in their spiritual lives, and that they had simply substituted old rites and customs with something else according to the teachings of the Judaizers. This is what has happened throughout Christianity, particularly in the RCC with the merging of pagan customs with those of the true faith.
The third option is that the false teachers themselves were being compared to leaven. They had crept in and subtly pulled away the believers from Christ and towards themselves. This is not unusual in churches, and it quickly leads to aberrant branches of Christianity, like King James Onlyism, etc.
As Paul has been speaking consistently throughout the epistle about the introduction of false doctrine by the Judaizers, this is most probably what he is specifically referring to. But as a proverbial saying, the premise holds true for each of the three possibilities above. Once a little yeast is introduced into bread, it quickly permeates the entire loaf. So it is with false teachers and bad doctrine. Just a tad of either can lead to catastrophic results within a church body.
Life application: Stick to the word, and stick to proper context when evaluating the word. Don’t get swayed by goofy doctrine, self-seeking teachers, or anyone who claims they have a special insight into Scripture that nobody else has. Further, stick to the grace of Jesus Christ alone. DO NOT insert precepts from the law into your walk. If you do, you will certainly be brought back into bondage, and you will have set aside the grace of God in Christ.
Lord God, the smallest amount of yeast will make an entire loaf of bread rise. And the slightest bit of bad doctrine which is adhered to within a congregation will certainly result in corruption and turning away from You. As we are prone to wander, help us to keep our doctrine pure, to keep our noses in Your word, and to trust in the grace of Jesus Christ alone for our journey back home to You. With this, surely You will be pleased! Amen.