Posted by: William | December 17, 2007

Just a Little Leaven

            Any active pressing believer in Jesus knows (intellectually at least) that all sins are equal in the sight of God. But I think that we often push that to the back of our minds whenever abstaining from a “small sin” would create great inconvenience. They’re the little sins of our lives; the intentionally not looking in the eyes of the homeless; the giving of only most of the money you’ve set aside for your tithe; the following of romantic interest even into the territory of sexual temptation; the entertainment of cynical thoughts about brothers and sisters, or even the unintentional breaking down of them; the self-pity after you don’t get your way; earning and working for prosperity, instead of the Lord; the tiniest insult made to the savior in the name of ‘humor’. These are things, among many more, that we may do without others knowing about them; or at least considering them to be wicked. Somehow we must think they have no greater repercussions upon our lives; that they’re the “little sins” and that God is unconcerned with them. I think it’s one of the enemies most pivotal lies. However comfortable we think it’s going be to believe this lie, in the end it will always show itself for what it is: sin is a horrible persecutor and wants nothing more than to see you tortured and dead.

            Ralph Venning likens our sins to peddlers coming to our doors. People wonder why there are salesmen who come to their doors constantly. They’re bothered by the nuisance and wish that it would stop, but all the while entertain the peddlers and purchase things from them. “The reason why we have so many peddlers coming to our doors is because we buy and take their trifles,” writes Mr. Venning, “and the reason so many of these beggars and wandering gypsies knock at our doors is because we give them alms and lodging. If we only frowned on them and executed the law upon them, we should probably have none or less their company.”

            Sin begets more sin. There is no such thing as a “little sin,” not simply because in the eyes of God they’re all the same (which they are), but also because when a “little sin” is permitted, a still larger sin will soon come looking for admittance, and soon following that one an even larger one. I think this is at least part of what Paul eludes to when he says, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough” (Galatians 5:9). Even the smallest of our sins if permitted, in time, will poison our whole lives.


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