Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we saw that Paul spoke to the Galatian believers about not being brought to nothing from Christ (5:4). That was Paul’s first charge related to the daily walk of the heirs of promise. In this message we shall consider the second and third charges respectively: the charge to get rid of the leaven and not to turn freedom into an occasion, an opportunity, for the flesh.
In 5:7 and 8 Paul says, “You were running well; who hindered you that you should not obey the truth? This persuasion is not of Him Who calls you.” In 4:20 Paul told the Galatians that he was perplexed about them. Here in 5:7 and 8 Paul assumes a rather mild tone. He praises them by saying that they were running well. Then he asks them who hindered them that they should not obey the truth. Truth here does not refer to doctrine, but refers to the reality in Christ, as preached to the Galatians by Paul. In these verses it is difficult to tell whether Paul is mild or bold. On the one hand, he praises them, but, on the other hand, he seems to rebuke them. In talking to the Galatian believers Paul was very careful.
In 5:8 Paul says, “This persuasion is not of Him Who calls you.” The persuasion Paul mentions here is that of the Judaizers’ teaching, which was distracting the Galatians from Christ to the observances of the law. This persuasion was not of God, the One who had called them. Thus, it must have been from another source, from Satan. Paul’s word here is a strong indication that the Judaizers were one with Satan in acting against God’s economy.
We may apply this principle to our situation today. The persuasive talk of the opposers and the dissenting ones is not of the One who has called us. Therefore, its source must be Satan. This is a very serious matter. Be careful when listening to the persuasive speech of dissenting ones. Do not just listen to their words, but check whether or not their speech is of the One who has called us. Discern whether or not their persuasive talk is of God. Do not be misled by pleasant words. Deceivers are often sweet talkers. They use soothing, comforting, enticing words in their attempt to persuade you. But concealed within these words there is poison. Speaking with sugar-coated words, the dissenting ones may try to entice the weak ones away from the enjoyment of Christ and from the proper church life. Such talk is not of the One who called us. It issues from another source, from Satan, God’s enemy. The goal of this persuasion is to bring us to nothing from the enjoyment of Christ. Beware of the subtlety of the enemy behind this kind of persuasion.
In verse 9 Paul goes on to say, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Leaven here refers to the false teachings of the Judaizers (see Matt. 16:12), and the lump, to all the believers collectively. The whole lump is the church. Actually, Paul did not regard the false teachings of the Judaizers merely as a small amount of leaven, a little leaven. Certain of the Galatian believers, however, may have considered the persuasive speech of the Judaizers as something rather small. For this reason, Paul pointed out that even a little leaven leavens the whole lump.
In his subtle strategy, Satan uses the opposing ones and the dissenting ones to inject a little leaven through their persuasive speech. This leaven works as an appetizer that stirs up our desire in a negative way. The negative points covered in the first four chapters of Galatians were not merely a little leaven, but a large amount of leaven. But in dealing with those believers who had been distracted by the teaching of the Judaizers, Paul speaks in a careful way and refers to a little leaven. Whether the amount is large or small, leaven is leaven. Leaven is like germs in that it multiplies; it causes the whole lump to be leavened. We need to learn from the experience of the Galatians not to open ourselves to even a little leaven, for a little leaven is capable of leavening the whole church.
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