A Little Leaven!

By: Evan Beecham
From: January - February 2013
Found in: The Gospel of Grace
Are you struggling with self-condemnation? Or are you feeling guilty in some area of your life? Discover how these things will affect your life, and what Jesus has done to set you free!

In what area of your life are you the hardest on yourself, or put it this way: What are you condemning yourself about today?

Who do we think we are? This is an important question for us to ponder. When we miss the mark, are we constantly telling ourselves things like, “How could I be so stupid?” “I never get it right,” “It just doesn’t work for me.” These are all self-accusing, or self-condemning comments - comments that add leaven in the dough. “A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church]” (Galatians 5:9 AMP). Ultimately, we end up believing a LIE about ourselves! A lie that will keep us bound.

Every time we condemn ourselves we are calling unclean what God calls clean

A lie that sounds humble to the religious, but is actually pride leading to a performance-based Christianity trying to please God by our performance: – “If I do this for Him, then God will do this for me.” All of our so-called blessings and our trying to please God by our efforts are just works-based righteousness which voids our faith (Romans 4:14). We must quit trying to earn by our self efforts what God has freely given us in Christ.

How God sees us

When we condemn ourselves, we are wrestling with God’s word concerning who He says we are vs. who we “think we are.” We may think we are filthy, unworthy, unholy, and somehow, we, through leaven, even convince ourselves that this is humble, completely missing, or ignoring Jesus finished work of the cross. Friends, this may be shocking news for some, but that is not at all how God sees us! Jesus made us clean, worthy, holy, and righteous by his blood! Don’t call ”unclean” what Jesus has made clean (Acts 10:28).

When we believe something about ourselves which is contrary to what God believes about us, then we are doubting God.

Every time we condemn ourselves we are calling unclean what God calls clean; meaning that we are doubting God’s very word that He has spoken concerning us. Think about this for a moment: When we believe something about ourselves which is contrary to what God believes about us, then we are doubting God.

Wow, let that sink in for a moment. Self-condemnation causes us to doubt what God has said about us. When we condemn ourselves, we are now at odds with what God says about us and that, my friend, is doubting God. Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore, now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Are you a Christian? Then you’re forever in Christ!

Mixing law with grace

Leaven (yeast) is mixing a little law with grace. If we’re condemning ourselves or feeling guilty in some area of our life, then that little bit of leaven will leaven the whole lump causing unrest in our lives. Jesus commenced by saying primarily to His disciples, “Be on your guard against the leaven (ferment) of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy [producing unrest and violent agitation]” (Luke 12:1 AMP). In other words, that area of condemnation and guilt will work its way throughout the dough, and bring us back to a work-based Christianity relying on our self efforts to try to offer a sacrifice to God for that which we feel guilty about. We will look for something to do for God to appease Him and our conscience. That is where many people frustrate the grace of God in their lives, putting themselves back under the law, voiding their faith (Galatians 2:21). 

condemnation and guilt will work its way throughout the dough, and bring us back to a work-based Christianity

The law is do, do more - you haven’t done enough. Under the law, there is no rest because we are driven to do more, implying that the “finished work” is neither perfect nor complete. The law is about “I” and our efforts, vain as they are. Grace is done. Grace is about Jesus and His finished work. Leaven produces fermentation, which according to the dictionary is “a state of agitation, or turbulent change, unrest.” Notice that when you are at rest, in the perfection of redemption through the finished work of the cross, this leaven begins to agitate you and cause unrest in your life. The leaven is mixing law with grace to bring you back under the law, making you think that you have to do something in order to receive what God has freely given you.

Jesus’ obedience made us righteous (innocent, guilt free), not our efforts. Romans 5:18. Mirror translation:  “The conclusion is clear: it took just one offense to condemn mankind; one act of righteousness declares the same mankind innocent.” Phillips translation: “We see then, that as one act of sin exposed the whole race of men to condemnation, so one act of perfect righteousness presents all men freely acquitted in the sight of God!”

Only believe what Jesus has done

Let’s not disagree with what Jesus has done for us. He made us righteous, innocent, fully acquitted, with no need for guilt. We need to only believe what He has done for us. What an awesome loving God, leading us to His rest by His love! There is no rest or peace in guilt and condemnation. In His acquittal of all charges against us, we’re innocent. Wow, now we can really rest!

Whatever it is that you feel guilty about, and are condemning yourself over, (it could be in your marriage, something you have done in the past; it doesn’t matter.) is the little leaven. It will affect (agitate) your grace walk, producing unrest, instead of enjoying the rest and peace we have in Christ. We know the debt was fully paid by Jesus; there is nothing for you to do, just receive His superabundance of grace and gift of righteousness, and reign in life. God loves us, and He removed the condemnation. He was condemned so we could be acquitted. He took our guilt, so we could be innocent.

Galatians 5:9-10 Mirror Translation: “9 It is impossible to hide the effect of the smallest amount of yeast; the process of fermentation is immediately triggered. (A little bit of legalism corrupts a person’s whole life.) 10 In spite of the interference of those “law-church” people, I remain convinced about our like-mindedness in the Lord. It does not matter what high profile position anyone may occupy, do not let their title disturb you! The very law they promote will be their judgment! (The fermentation process is unavoidable when you host a legalistic mind-set.)”

The accuser is trying to get you to receive the law-grace mixture questioning the pure grace and goodness of God.

God sent Jesus to the cross because He loves us unconditionally and with great intensity. Receive His love today, and agree with what God has said about you: You’re innocent! Don’t put yourself in a place where mixture is being taught; feed on the pure grace of the finished work. In this grace, you will find true rest!

Remember this: The thief comes with only one agenda - to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). What is he after? Your identity of who you are in Christ, causing you to question what Jesus has done for you at Calvary. The accuser, using condemnation, is trying to get you to think you have to earn through the merit system what is already yours. In Luke 15:31 the father says “…all that I have is yours.” The accuser is trying to get you to receive the law-grace mixture questioning the pure grace and goodness of God. Christ’s redemption is perfect and complete. Believe it, receive it and bear fruit (Mark 4:20). Reign in life today!

By: Evan Beecham

Evan Beecham is a Pastor and Business owner, he owns an Insurance and Financial Planning Service, for the last 20 years, and has been in various aspects of ministry for 31 years.

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