1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
I jumped over the remainder of chapter 4 as it focuses more on the principle of the law being binding if you are following it. It expounds on how the law is insufficient and it is faith alone that will produce fruits after death. I am jumping over that because we have talked about it a few times but this section (right before my favorite section) builds on that. Though the foundational point of what we are looking at is legalism our “take homes” apply to any false doctrine.
Paul says, “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” In context there are two ways we can look at this:
1)A little bit of false doctrine will spread to everyone else within the church body.
This is obviously an issue especially since Paul says “As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves.” This is some pretty heavy words for people who are causing others within the church to stumble. Unfortunately human nature is such that if someone comes in with a false doctrine people will slowly start flocking towards it. Now this is an issue of course but is usually stunted when a good Shepherd is present and can keep believers from falling prey to the false doctrine. However, the next point is significantly harder to control.
2)A little bit of false doctrine will spread to all of your doctrine.
This one, as I said, is harder to control. The main reason why this is so difficult to perform damage control on is that most people don’t realize this is even a thing. For instance, someone who believes in legalism may show significantly less grace to someone who is struggling with sin. Their false doctrine of a works based justification bleeds into their manifestation of grace. They are acting consistently, you have to grant them that. It is logical for someone who believes your obedience grants you justification to be super harsh when they see someone struggling since they see someone teetering between heaven and hell. To be clear I am not saying that you can go on sinning so that grace may abound… obviously. What I am saying is that if you aren’t careful a slight misunderstanding or a slight touch of false doctrine will skew your application of other Christian values.
All of this points to something larger. 2 Timothy 2:15. If you don’t know it, look it up I’ll wait. *Two minutes later* So… yeah that’s your duty. God wants you to be studying, evaluating what you believe and act out. We discussed this last Sunday the phrase in Philippians “work out your salvation daily with fear and trembling.” We discussed how this was an actual display of our sanctification. How we are to be portraying, or displaying our sanctification daily-yet still fearfully because God asks some mighty things that are accomplished only through Him. If you are not working out your salvation, massaging it’s application into your life and evaluating how consistent you are then you are likely full speed careening down a hill. Your spiritual “life” is likely filled with many false beliefs. They are encroaching on your life and limiting your freedom. Are you evaluating your belief? Are you letting a little yeast to WORK through your life?
God I know that I am prone to false doctrine. Anything that yields to my flesh is appealing. Here I am again asking you to help me discern what is profitable and what is negative in my doctrinal beliefs. Guide me in Your truth and shield me from being misled. I want Your truth, not my lies. Amen.
You’ve likely told some people some wrong things. If you can remember those “false doctrines” (scary to say out loud eh?) go back and correct some. You may have had a huge impact on someone’s life with those words and they may be lasting effects. James 3:1 tells us that teachers will be held more accountable for their actions. The awkward thing is that we teach constantly with our lives… So combine 2 Timothy 2:15 and James 3:1 so you have nothing to worry about! #ScripturePeeps