Galatians 5:7-10

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion [cometh] not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. [Gal 5:7-10]

Paul here looks back to the beginning when he called them by the gospel of grace.  But the enemies of the gospel not only turned the Galatian believers against him, they turned against the truth.  He likens them to runners racing off course.  They are racing off course because someone had laid down a false course.  This course laid down law-works as conditions of righteousness and holiness.

But the law is finished in Christ!

For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. [Rom 10:4]

Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace; [Eph 2:15]

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; [Col 2:14]

Paul did not add law works to the gospel, and did not allow it.

And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, [and said], Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had NO SMALL DISSENSION AND DISPUTATION with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. [Act 15:1-2, emphasis mine]

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

It may seem that this idea of circumcision is no big deal.  Go along to get along might be the argument today.  But the picture of leaven here makes the problem plain.  If we let a little bit of error into our doctrine, look what becomes of it.  The Lord told this parable:

Another parable spake He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. [Mat 13:33]

Many have argued the issue and we will not get into here what exactly the Lord is speaking of here, but look what happened to the meal:  the whole was leavened.

In 1Corinthians 5, Paul brings up leaven to speak of sin and immorality being allowed to continue and thrive in the assembly.  It was not only allowed, it seems that it was applauded.  Here we are speaking of leaven as bad doctrine.  Let a little in, the whole lump will be leavened.  All of the doctrine will turn bad.  A look at “church history” will show what a little leaven will do.  Paul knew this and this is why he came at them so strongly in this matter.

But the minister of the Lord always has hope.  I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded.  Paul knew that his labor in the Lord was not in vain, and later told them to bear each other’s burdens, and if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. [Gal 6:1]  Such is the ministry of correction.  It is to correct the error and not to shame the one in error.  We need to remember this in dealing with erring brethren as well.  Such was the apostle’s attitude toward the Corinthians in their behavioral “leaven”:

And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is [the joy] of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which [was inflicted] of many. So that contrariwise ye [ought]rather to forgive [him], and comfort [him], lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm [your] love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.  To whom ye forgive any thing, I [forgive] also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave [it], for your sakes [forgave I it] in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. [2Co 2:3-11]

Such it would be in the Galatians’ doctrinal leaven.  Grace does not demand revenge or retribution.  When the change and repentance comes, the work of correction is done.  There is no reason to beat it to death.  The goal is to bring the erring individual[s] back, not to shame them.

Now those leading the rebellion against the apostle’s message would bear their own judgment.  Maybe this sounds harsh, but remember that

…though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. [Gal 1:8-9]

It is imperative that every gospel preacher “get it right” when it comes to the message of grace.

Pause, reader, and consider! Are you attempting to explain the Gospel to others without the exact knowledge of your theme? Would you choose to take a remedy which had been compounded by a blind druggist? Are you persisting in error because of indolence, carelessness, or mere theological prejudice?  Failure to state accurately the Gospel of saving grace may result in the damnation of the misguided, and the meriting, at least, of the anathema of God on the part of the blind guide. After due consideration, no sane person will treat these facts lightly.

{Lewis Sperry Chafer, GRACE}

In this we state also that it is of utmost importance to

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [2Ti 2:15]

It is not study to show your Pastor approved, for the workman of God is to study to show himself approved.  And he will never show himself approved unto God if he preaches a “gospel” mixing law and grace.  The two cannot coexist. They are not to be “harmonized”.  They are by the same composer, but not the same symphony.  The result of the mixture is the “Babel” confusion that exists in most of Christendom.  They all may glory in their history, or some great historical figure or movement

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. [Gal 6:14]

Previous Study:  Galatians 5:1-6

Next Study: Galatians 5:11-12

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