Wednesday, March 05, 2014

"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Galatians 5:9)

Note:  Here are some expository notes from my sermon on Galatians 5:7-12:
"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Galatians 5:9).
Paul continues this warning against these false teachers with a one verse parable.  It takes just a little bit of yeast to make the whole mass of bread dough to rise.  So, a little bit of false teaching can get mixed into the whole lump and spread its nefarious influence throughout the whole, not to produce something good (a loaf of bread) but to ruin the whole.
BTW, here is a place where I think we see that Paul directly knew the teachings of our Lord from the Gospels, because Jesus so often appealed to yeast in such a parabolic way.  Compare:
Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Luke 12:1 In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy."
Also, behind this metaphor is the idea of the Jewish practice of the Passover when all unleavened bread had to be removed from the house.  You will not be spiritually pure, as long as you tolerate false teaching, Paul is saying. Compare:
1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 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: 8 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.
The image that came to mind when I meditated on this verse was the recent chemical spill into the drinking water in Charleston, WVA.  Back on January 9, 2014,  seven to ten thousand gallons of MCHM leaked into the water supply affecting hundreds of thousands of people, and, by many accounts, it is still affecting their water.

A little leaven leavens the whole lump.  A little false teaching can infiltrate and ruin the whole body of teaching and harm thousands.


No comments: