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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is.”—Galatians 5:7–10 (ESV)
A few months ago, my wife and I were driving to a destination with which I was unfamiliar. We had to drive separately, so I was following my wife, who knew the way. She was in our black Honda Accord, and I tried my best to keep my eyes on her. Unfortunately, I got cut off by another car and lost her. I quickly did some maneuvering, and I thought I had finally caught up to her. Five miles later, I realized I was actually following a stranger’s car that looked like our car . . . and I was lost!
Part of the reason I followed the wrong car for so long is that I was distracted. I wasn’t paying attention to details like the license plate or the fact that this car had a spoiler. It looked close enough, so I didn’t notice the obvious signs that I was following the wrong car.
This is basically what happened to the Galatians.
You see, the Judaizers weren’t saying, “Jesus isn’t the answer!” On the surface, their message seemed like Paul’s. The Galatians were probably distracted by how holy these people seemed and didn’t notice they were following a different gospel.
That’s why Paul warns us that, “A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough.” All it takes is a small amount of yeast to take flatbread and turn it into a loaf of sour dough. Similarly, a bit of bad theology can throw us off course, cutting us off from the power of the gospel.
Maybe it happens when you’re distracted or discouraged. Maybe it’s because a charismatic person looks and sounds the part, and we don’t notice his or her questionable theology. Or maybe it’s because we’ve allowed cultural ideas to impact our worldview and warp the way we view the gospel.
Pretty soon, we’ve gone completely off course. The “yeast” has spread, and we end up with something that doesn’t remotely resemble the gospel. And if we’re not careful, we may end up deceiving others and suffer the consequences of leading people astray.
We can’t let this happen to us! We cannot allow ourselves to be fooled into accepting any kind of dressed up, watered-down, false version of the gospel of Jesus. Why? Because that cuts ourselves off from the power of the gospel, from the freedom we have in Christ, from experiencing the fullness of His promises and His presence in our lives, and from walking in victory.
DIG: Have you ever been taken way off course? How did you feel when you realized it?
DISCOVER: What steps can you take to ensure you’re not falling for false doctrine?
DO: Read 1 John 4:1–6.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.