A Little Leaven – Galatians 5:7-12


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. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off which trouble you. (Galatians 5:7-12)

A Little Leaven

Introduction

  • False doctrine had penetrated the Galatian churches.
  • The Galatians had come out of paganism. They had forsaken heathen practices and had accepted the freedom of salvation that comes with belief in Christ.
  • Judaizers told them it was not sufficient to believe in Christ alone for salvation.
  • They were convincing the Galatians that it was necessary to obey the Mosaic ceremonial law.

Review

  • In the first two chapters of Galatians, Paul established his right to preach the message that salvation is by faith rather than by works.
  • In chapters 3 and 4, he established that the Old Testament teaches salvation by faith and grace.
  • Finally, in chapters 5 and 6, he is demonstrating how to live out the freedom of salvation.
  • Galatians 5:1 tells us that Christ has given us the freedom to walk in the Spirit to keep from fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. Christian liberty is being controlled from the inside, rather than being pressured from the outside.
  • In writing to the Galatians, he attacks both the false doctrine and false teachers in verses 1 to 12.
    • The results of believing false doctrine. (vv. 2-6)
      • You Are Not Profited by Christ (v. 2)
      • You Are Required to Keep the Whole Law (v. 3)
      • You Are Fallen from Grace (v. 4)
      • You Are Excluded from Righteousness (vv. 5-6)
  • True faith produces good works (v. 6)
  • After condemning the false doctrine of legalism, Paul condemns the false teachers themselves. (vv. 7-12)

They Hinder the Truth (v. 7)

  • The opponents of the truth (v. 7a) – “Ye did run well; who did hinder you?”
    • A statement of amazement
    • What character do these false teachers have?
    • This is the kind of people they were: (Gal. 6:12-13).
  • The obedience to the truth (v. 7b) – “That ye should not obey the truth?”
    • Its reference to salvation
      • Acts 6:7
      • Romans 2:8
      • Romans 6:17
      • Romans 10:16
    • Its reference to sanctification
      • The issue isn’t whether he is talking to Christians or non- Christians; he is talking about principles that can apply in either case.
      • They were forsaking the doctrines of salvation and sanctification.
        • 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
        • Romans 6:16-18
        • 1 Peter 1:22
    • Bible examples
      • 1 Timothy 4:1-2 – False teachers typically fail to live by the message they preach
      • 2 Timothy 3:8
      • 2 Peter 2:1-2

They Are Not of God (v. 8 ) – “This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.”

  • It was not from God
  • It was not from Christ
  • It was not from the Spirit of God
  • It was not from Christ’s ministers
  • Where was it from? It was from diabolical sources.

They Contaminate the Church (v. 9) – “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”

  • A very familiar proverb of Paul’s day.
  • Only a little is required to get a great result.
  • Jude 11-13 describes false teachers.
  • If you give in just a little, you may be asking for trouble.
  • The priority of the leaders in the church is to watch and warn against false teachers because they can contaminate the church so rapidly.

They Will Be Judged (v. 10)

  • The confidence (v. 10a) – “I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded.”
    • He doesn’t see the Galatians being judged; he sees them abiding in Christ
      • John 8:31
      • John 15:4-8
      • Philippians 1:6
  • The condemnation (v. 10b) – “But he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.”
    • “troubleth” – “to throw into confusion” or “to agitate” – what happens to those who mislead God’s people?
      • Matthew 23:33
      • 2 Peter 2:1-14
      • Matthew 18:1-6

They Persecute True Teachers (vv. 11-12)

  • The defense of Paul’s persecutions (v. 11) – “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offense of the cross ceased.”
    • The Accusation About Paul
      • The Judaizers claimed that Paul preached circumcision (probably Timothy’s example)
      • Paul had Timothy circumcised because Timothy was half Jewish and half Gentile. And 1 Corinthians 9:20-22 explains…
    • The Argument by Paul
      • “If I’m really on their team, why are they persecuting me?”
      • Paul himself had persecuted the church – Galatians 1:13-14
  • The denouncement of Paul’s persecutors (v. 12) – “I would they were even cut off who trouble you.”
    • One of the most shocking statements that ever came from his lips.
    • He says, “I wish those people who are teaching circumcision would castrate themselves!”
    • A passionate hatred of false teachers. He wasn’t afraid to say what he needed to.
    • Eunuchs were cut off from the congregation of Israel.

Conclusion: False teachers must be stopped and shunned

  • This applies to those that oppose godly leaders
  • This also applies to those that agitate the church
  • This further applies to those that cause confusion in the church
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5 Comments

  1. The denouncement of Paul’s persecutors (v. 12) – “I would they were even cut off who trouble you.” … He says, “I wish those people who are teaching circumcision would castrate themselves!”

    This doesn’t say that Paul wishes they would cut themselves (in a certain place), but that he desires them to be cut off – ie. die. There is a lot of difference there! The mvs give the indication that they should castrate themselves; however the KJV does not.

  2. It seems evident to me that the context points toward that. Someone that was castrated would have been cut off from the house of Israel. The Bible is often more specific than our “Victorian sensibilities” want to allow.

  3. Jerry,

    The apostle is not advocating self-mutilation, but is using hyperbole. He is saying in essence that if these Judaizers were so insistent on circumicision as a means of pleasing God, they should go even further in their religious devotion and mutilate themselves; that is, if circumcision is so effective in racking up merit points with God, why not go even further.

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