The Dangers of Religious Leaven
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to determine what Galatian believers thought taking the rite of circumcision would accomplish for them spiritually after having begun in the Spirit by faith. I doubt that they knew themselves. The religious Judaizers from Jerusalem had come in among them and had captured their attention of these Galatian believers… to bring them under the religious Law. These Galatians had been so gloriously saved by grace, but now they “desired to be under the law” (Gal. 4:21) of external religious practice.
These Galatians did not deny the efficacy of the finished work of Christ, but they were interested — just interested — in submitting to a ‘religious ceremony,’ which in itself is a denial of the all-sufficiency of Christ’s redemptive work (Gal. 3:1; 5:2-4).
The result was that the blessing of the Cross was already vanishing (5:14) from the understanding of the Galatians and the Apostle had to warn them: “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Gal. 5:9). You can’t accept a little leaven and expect it to stop there. In the Bible leaven is a metaphor for sin. In this case of the Galatians it was the leaven of ‘religious sin’ that corrupts and opposes the truth of Paul’s grace Gospel of the all-sufficiency of the crosswork of Jesus Christ … sacrificed on our behalf.
Today, in Christendom we see the same thing of religion trying to bring believer’s under the Law of a Performance Based Acceptance System. Commonly, after one is saved as a genuine believer, they may then be told … “Well if you really want to please God, you need to do this and that… then God will bless you all the more.” Such lies literally destroys to power of “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” that functions in the believer’s life only under grace.
The fact is that moment we were saved we then received everything we can from God… “in Christ” whose “Spirit of life” has been deposited into our spirit to be our new life. What we need is to come to the knowledge of what we have in Christ. Consider the truth of these Pauline verses below.
“… for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14a (KJV)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath (already) blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Ephesians 1:3 (KJV)
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord (by grace through faith), so walk ye in him (by grace through faith):” (Colossians 2:6 (KJV)