Opening the Door to Destruction
There are no little sins in your Christian life. There are no white lies or minor transgressions against the law of God. They may seem small. You may tell yourself “It is just a one time thing“. This is not how sin works. “Little sins” are Satan’s ways to get his foot in the door of your life. Once he gets that opening, there is always more to come. This is why God’s compares sin with yeast. It seems tiny but it packs a big punch. Your sin may not seem like much but it always changes you in a big way. Sin grows, replicates and leaves you very different then before you chose to do it. Sin is never satisfied with just once.
Yeast is the small granules you add to dough to get it to take shape into bread. It is the difference between light fluffy white bread and flat heavy matzoh. Yeast works by taking sugars that are naturally present in dough and changing them. The sugars get consumed by the yeast and processed into carbon dioxide and alcohol. It is the agent of transformation that changes a ball of gloopy flour into something totally different. A loaf of wonderful French bread would look like a thick and heavy brick of Matzoh without a pinch of yeast to change it.
A grain of yeast is small and innocuous looking by itself. Its size is deceiving. Each grain is powerful and self-replicating. As long as the yeast has a food source available, it changes the dough and also produces more yeast. A pinch of yeast always multiplies, spreads and infects everything it is in contact with. It will eventually affect even the biggest bowl of dough.
God compares sin with yeast because it shares the same attributes. Sin always multiplies. It always seeks to spread itself around your life and in those around you. It will infect everything around it, if it is allowed to remain in us and in the church. Sin will always grow stronger if not removed. It can’t stop spreading out, fermenting and growing into everything it comes into contact with.
A Church Filled with Leaven
Paul addressed a church in 1 Corinthians that is filled with yeast. He spent a significant amount of time in Corinth and loves the believers there. He brought Jesus to them and taught them personally. Yet after Paul leaves, sin creeps into the church. A man is carrying on a sexual affair and everyone inside and outside of the church knows about it. They are doing nothing about it. Even worse, the Corinthian church is proud they are tolerating this open sin. They think they are sophisticated, loving, and tolerant for accepting this fellow. They allow sin to take root and become comfortable among them, God’s people. Paul is very upset in response. 1 Corinthians is called a corrective letter because it is Paul writing to rebuke an entire church for its conduct.
Yet, it is not the man and his affair that had Paul so emotional. It is the attitude of the church that grieved Paul. They accept sin rather than confront it. They don’t flee from the traps of Satan, they invite them into the Church. They willingly add yeast to the dough of their church and act surprised when there is an ongoing reaction. Not only is the affair still ongoing, but the rest of the church is swept along with the sinful ways. They are changed by the presence of the yeast. The larger church ends up suing each other, drinking at Communion, having affairs and all other sorts of illicit behavior. The sin they allow among them is fully at work and its impact is growing.
Sin is never satisfied to stay with just you. It is never content to dwell in one area of their life. It is never just one person in open rebellion in your church. You can never accept sin and not be affected by it. Sin will always grow and spread and effect everything it touches as long as it is present. Satan seeks to destroy you. His main weapon is sin.
Sickness in a Body Spreads.
This does not mean you should flee from any and all things of this world. You need to be in the world to make a difference. It does indicate that you cannot let the world become part of you.
The Christian life is like a submarine in the ocean. The submarine is a picture of how you go through this life and the ocean is the world and things of it. A submarine is required to be in the water for it to be of any use. It is not meant to sit on dry land. It looks awkward and it takes tremendous effort to move it. It needs to be surrounded by water for its purpose and design to really make sense.
Despite this, how would you feel 100 feet down in a submarine if it suddenly sprung a leak? Even a small intrusion by the water around you would leave you panicked. Why? It is a great danger to the integrity of the vessel. The water pressure pushes on any hole trying to force its way in and flood the vessel. Sin never is content with remaining small and insignificant in your life. It grows and twists until there is nothing good left to feed on. Satan lives to steal, kill and destroy.
Solomon presented a similar picture in Song of Solomon. He describes life as a vineyard. The sins that you tolerate are like “little foxes” that invade the vineyard and are allowed to run amok. The “little” foxes eventually destroy the much larger vineyard.
What is the antidote? How do you avoid the leaven taking hold and affecting the rest of the loaf?
Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened.
God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
God’s picture is clear. Sin cannot be tolerated without a cost in your life. It will always have some effect no matter how “little” you claim it is. This impact will grow as long as you continue to tolerate the sin.
Your choice is therefore very simple as well. If you wish to have a holy life that is dedicated to God as He intends, ruthlessly purge the leaven. Drive away the little foxes. Then you can truly enjoy the abundance of the vineyard as God intends.
The great news is if you confess your sins, God shows His great mercy and forgiveness and cleanses out all of the grains of yeast that are waiting to infect you. He patches any holes in your vessel. Fall on Him today. Go boldly to the throne of grace where you will find mercy and grace for your time of need.