The Lowdown on Leaven

1 Corinthians 5:6 “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?”

I love bread, especially cinnamon raisin bread! One of the key ingredients in making bread is yeast, which is a leavening, or raising agent. It’s what makes bread loaves different from crackers or pita bread. In the Bible, yeast is called leaven and it is used as a picture of sin. When God uses types in the Bible, it is so we can wrap our minds around a deep spiritual truth by seeing a simple earthly example. Here is the lowdown on leaven:

First, the effects of leaven are Definite.

Once leaven has been added to a batter and mixed in, there is no turning back. The results or influence of leaven is not seen immediately, but in a short period of time. Sin is the exact same way. It may seem like there was no immediate ill effects of the sin we allow into our lives, but be sure that in due time the effects will definitely be known.

Second, the effects of leaven are Disproportionate.

Just a little bit of leaven in a large mixing bowl of batter is enough to completely saturate a bread loaf. One pound of yeast is enough to leaven one thousand pounds of flour! The great lie of Satan is that a little sin will not hurt you, nor will it change you. Just as batter cannot go unchanged by the inclusion of yeast, the Christian life will not go unchanged by the addition of sin. The Bible says in Galatians 5:9, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”

Lastly, the effects of leaven are Destructive.

In the worship of God in the Old Testament, God’s people were explicitly warned not to use leavened bread. God was not interested in having yeast, a fermenting agent, offered to Him. He wanted His sacrifices to be holy and without any type of sin or blemish. Once leaven was added to a batter, it became unfit to be used in the worship of God. Similarly, a life that is completely saturated with the sins of this world is not fit to offer holy worship to God.

Robert Pophal
Senior Pastor | Rose Park Baptist Church of Holland, Michigan