this persuasion is not from him who calls you. a little leaven leavens the whole lump. [galatians 5:8-9]
the peril of persuasion
there is something rousing about a persuasive speech. great words and stories can persuade and inspire us to action, stirring our emotions and nudging us to action. yet sometimes persuasion can do just the opposite; working against our best interests, pushing us far from God on the basis of empty appeals and false ideas that sound great on the surface and make us feel good.
the persuasion that is being discussed here is clearly a negative persuasion, as it is “not from him who calls you”.
the lie of ‘Jesus +’
the verse prior to this tells us that someone has hindered the believers at galatia from “obeying the truth”. this is a serious charge, with serious consequences! the church was actively running after Christ, when someone began inserting legalism. their priority had become not just Jesus, but Jesus + works. Jesus + circumcision. Jesus + legalism.
they had been running after Christ, but were now slowed to a halt and steered off track.
adapting a theology of ‘Jesus +’ anything is a subtle but poisonous venom that will weaken our faith, and make us ineffective in our walk.
a little leaven
Jesus warned his disciples against ‘the leaven of the pharisees’ [matthew 16:6]. leaven is familiar to us as yeast. yeast is what causes bread to rise up, and takes what would otherwise be flat as a cracker and turns it into a loaf.
what Jesus is teaching is that it only takes a little bit of leaven to spread throughout the entire loaf. in the same way, one little addition, one little extra legalistic thing added to the work of Christ quickly spreads, changing the entire dynamic of our faith.
let us seek Jesus fervently, and ensure that our faith is based on him and only him!
~ jason soroski