What Does Galatians 5:9 Mean?

A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.

Galatians 5:9(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Paul made some strong and vigorous denunciations of the Judaisers in Galatia. They were not only teaching a false, legalistic gospel but were discrediting Paul's God-ordained ministry, mission, and message.

Paul knew that tremendous devastation and destruction would be caused in the Body of Christ if the false message these Judaisers were promulgating, was permitted to continue without challenge.

And so, we have the strongly worded letter to the Galatian church which presented the most blistering denunciation of their false doctrine and a vigorous defence of the Christian liberties we have in Christ. The gospel Paul had taught these Christians at Galatia, had been received directly from Jesus Himself, but these legalisers attempted to discredit Paul’s apostleship and his message.

By returning to the Law of Moses, these Judaisers were turning away from the gospel of salvation, which comes as a free gift of grace from God to all who believe on the death, burial, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

By returning back to the Law, they ruined the grace of God in the lives of these believers, forcing them to become a debtor to the Law and placing them back under its curse – for those who follow the Law are obligated by the Law to obey the WHOLE of the Law, with its 613 separate regulations.

Causing these believers in Christ to turn back to the Law, forced them to fall from grace which meant that Christ "had become of no effect" in their Christian life. It forced them to live and work in their own, human strength, rather than in the supernatural strength that God supplies through His indwelling Spirit.

It caused these believers to live their life apart from the sufficient strength that is supplied through the indwelling Holy Spirit – which takes place when a Christian is walking in spirit and truth and remains in fellowship with God.

When a Christian reverts from grace to law, their spiritual growth and the sanctification process is hindered and halted. Instead of progressing into Christian maturity, they revert back into spiritual infancy – resisting, grieving, and even quenching the Spirit's work in their lives.

The destructive and devastating doctrine the Galatians had started to embrace, was the fruit of a poisonous vine and not the truth received from the Lord Jesus. Paul likened it to the slow, secret spreading of a little tiny scrap of leaven that is placed in a lump of bread-dough: "A little leaven," Paul points out to these Christians, "leavens the whole lump of dough."

When a little poison is placed in something that is good and wholesome, it spreads and grows and disseminates until it has contaminated every single part. Whether it is food, morals, a community, a church, or a government – when a little poison or evil or malice is permitted to infiltrate what is good, it soon becomes spoiled, poisonous, ruined – destroyed.

The Word of God is wholesome and good. It is our food and our drink, but when a little poisonous doctrine is allowed to enter, whether legalism, liberalism, or any other kind of compromised truth, then the first step towards destruction has been established.

May we keep the BIBLE as our plumb-line for truth and jealously guard its unchanging and immutable integrity. May we hold fast to the faith once offered to the saints in Scripture and speedily reject anything which may compromise its veracity. 

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your written Word and the truth of the gospel. Help me to discern any false doctrine that may be seeping into the Church, or into my own heart. May I anchor my soul to the Word of God as the bed-rock of my faith, and refuse to allow legalism, liberalism, or any other kind of compromised truth to seep in and ruin my witness. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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