Leaven: The Most Fitting Biblical Symbol for Sin
Some may be wondering why the Israelites were told to put leaven out of their homes prior to the 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, just following the Passover Seder, and then to eat only unleavened bread with their meals for seven days. Here is a sound biblical explanation that you can apply to your life all year. The commanded observance of the seven Days of Unleavened Bread in the Old Testament (now followed voluntarily by non-Torah observant Messianic believers in Yeshua and some Sabbatarian groups) has very great spiritual significance for all believers in Jesus. Read about it in the following article.
1. Leaven is in the air: Yeast spores are airborne. You cannot possibly get all leavening out in this physical life--spiritually, or even physically for those of you who de-leaven your homes for Passover. Ephesians 2:1-3. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of the world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as others.” Satan’s “wavelength” is in the air, broadcast in the air—similar to radio waves in that they propagate and fill the airspace on this planet. His broadcast is in the form of moods, attitudes, and feelings. Verse 3 is the effect that Satan’s broadcast has on humanity. The broadcast is so strong that the natural normal way of humanity is to be full of wrath. The attitudes of Satan bear fruit. The spores of Satan’s attitudes are given in the next set of Scriptures. Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication [all sex outside of marriage], uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like: of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
2. 2nd Stage: The leavening process starts small, one yeast spore is only 1/3000th of an inch in size. All it takes is one spore of yeast to naturally leaven bread. [This is the same yeast that rots fruit, causing it to decay. Yeast sours the bread, and sour dough comes from dough that has been soured by the yeast.] Sin is the same way, it doesn’t stay small for very long. It starts small with the first wrong thought. James 1:13-15, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fullgrown, brings forth death.”
Our lusts trigger wrong thoughts. Wrong thoughts trigger wrong actions, sin. What can lead to wrong thoughts?
1. The lure of the world
2. Satan’s broadcast during times of stress
3. An undisciplined mind—daydreaming
4. An undisciplined memory—not blotting out certain memories of the past. “Past sins should be abhorred, not adored.”
We must catch the leaven spores of Satan in the budding stage. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ..." That is the key to controlling sin, stopping it at the thought level. We must control every thought of our minds. Don’t let wrong thoughts get any foothold.
3. Stage 3: Leaven Grows and Spreads. Galatians 5:9, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”
Growth Stages of Leaven and Sin:
1. Strong temptation and desire. The power of impulse
2. Given enough time the wrong thought becomes uncontrollable. Sin like leaven re-enforces itself. The leaven multiplies, and so does the sin. Yeast changes the dough surrounding itself. Sin changes our minds in a similar way (i.e. the sinful thought, allowed to linger and become sinful thoughts, a whole stream of them).
James 1:13-15, “Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’: for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when sin has conceived [the evil thought taken root], it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is fullgrown, brings forth death.” If we force wrong thoughts out immediately, sin will not conceive. The power to force out wrong thoughts comes from closeness to God (through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, giving us spiritual life and power).
Stage 4: Repeating the Sin Becomes Habit: Ask God to tool and fashion our conscience against wrong thoughts. Our consciences become seared from repeated sins, until we become bound up by that sin. Once habit, sin becomes enjoyable. Romans 7:23, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Once habit, that sin, becomes enjoyable. A law is a habit repeated time after time, time after time, (like a computer program). The law of sin is a powerful law.
Stage 5: THE HABITUAL PRACTICE OF SIN OPEN’S THE DOOR TO OTHER SINS, A HARDENED HEART, AND AN ATTITUDE OF REBELLION: When we resist change we are no longer moldable, malleable. Our character is being hardened in the wrong pattern and we are getting very close to the spiritual point of no return. [Of course, this is talking about believers in Yeshua, Jesus, those covered by the blood of his sacrifice and are supposedly walking by the light of the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is not talking of unrepentant mankind, walking in the ways of this evil present world or age of man.]
6. End Result--Total Disintegration of Right Character (which borders on the “unpardonable sin”): Hebrews 6:4-6, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” The complete cycle of leaven is that it rots the bread dough if the bread is not baked in time (this same yeast is the agent that rots fruit). The process can be stopped anywhere from Stage 1 through stage 5. At stage 6 it is not possible. Daily repentance is the key to walking the process backwards, and then staying fresh, malleable in the hands of the Lord. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We can’t possibly do this on our own, it takes power coming from the indwelling Holy Spirit to work such daily changes in our lives, and to be able to cast out the wrong thoughts and replace them with good ones (read Philippians 4:8; Romans chapters 7-8). God can turn us around and reverse the process. God can erase the whole sin program in our minds, and show us how each sin spore got started.
1. Humble yourselves: Admit to yourself and to God what your sins are, what you see. Admit your sin.
2. Pray: Pray and ask God to give you repentance, to show you yourself.
3. Seek My Face: Seek God on your knees, repeatedly (perhaps several times a day, be persistent).
4. And Turn From Your Wicked Ways: Plan a strategy to make a turn-around for the sin(s) you are working on. Do Bible studies about your problem(s). Read what God has to say about them. The capacity to repent is a Godly attribute. Make it real: 1 Samuel 15:26-30, “So Samuel said to him, ‘I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.’ And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. So Samuel said to him, ‘The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbour of yours, who is better than you. And also the Strength of Israel will not lie or relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.’ Then he [Saul] said, ‘I have sinned: yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.’” Saul had a fake repentance. He only cared when he got caught, and only cared about what the “people” saw, not what God saw in him.
This is recommended reading for Messianic Jewish and Sabbatarian Churches of God brethren prior to and during the Days of Unleavened Bread (starting at Passover). This book is all about putting spiritual “leaven”—sin—out of our lives. It shows just how evil sin really is, how devastating it is to our very lives.
“Go And Sin No More” book review
“Go and Sin No More is a masterful book on an unpopular subject. Speaking as one who has and is experiencing a revival of cleansing and deliverance, Michael Brown brings to the table a rich resource for all who seek a biblical view of sin and its absolute consequences to the believer’s soul.”
FRANK DAMAZIO Senior Pastor, City Bible Church, Portland, Oregon.
“Personal holiness is the key to God’s ultimate plans for us all. “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16 KJV) is a command, not a suggestion. Romans 8:29 clearly emphasizes this great truth: “For those God foreknew He also predestinated to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Conformed to His likeness! That is what God’s call to us to live holy lives is all about. It’s the central element of God’s wonderful plan for our lives.
How can we be holy? In ourselves, we cannot. We can only do so by the ministry of the Holy Spirit within us. [So if you try—all on your own--to apply this book to your life to break the chains of a sin or sins that are binding you, it will not help. You must be born-again, filled and indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God before this book will do you any good whatsoever. But if you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, this book is powerful. It is spiritual weaponry of immense power, it is a cutting torch which directs the Holy Spirit in your life, cutting those chains of repetitive sin that may be binding you.] That is why for 47 years Campus Crusade for Christ—now in 172 countries with a staff of 19,000 and 181,000 volunteers—has strongly emphasized the ministry of the Holy Spirit. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13, KJV). We cannot effectively do anything, even witness for Christ, without the enabling and power of the Holy Spirit…Go and Sin No More is a magnificent, comprehensive work on the important but oft-neglected subject of holiness. Dr. Michael L. Brown’s wonderful insights make this one of those rare life-changing books. Every Christian who reads it will be blessed and will never be the same. I believe it is God’s message for this hour.
[the late] DR. BILL BRIGHT
Founder [and former] President
Campus Crusade for Christ International”
A Few Excerpts…
“This book provides a massive spiritual assortment of ammunition we can use to wage war against the flesh, the devil, and the world.”
Sin, keeps you longer, takes you further, costs you more
“There are three things sin will always do. It will keep you longer than you intended to stay, take you further than you intended to go, and cost you more than you intended to spend. Sin is treacherous!
And since we know we’re in a daily battle, let’s arm ourselves with all the ammunition we can to help us submit to God and say no to the flesh, the devil, and the world…” (pp. 60-61)
Secret sins can have public consequences
“Paul wrote that a little leaven leavens the whole lump (see 1 Cor. 5:6; Gal 5:9), and the Word tells us that one man’s sin—Achan in Joshua 7—caused thirty-six Israelites to die, since his transgression stopped the Lord from going out to battle with His people. There was an enemy in God’s own camp! Yet he sinned secretly, none of the leaders knew anything about it—meaning that our secret sins can have public consequences too. This is a deep spiritual matter, my friend.” (p. 65)
Sin renders God’s anointing ineffective
“…sin can render the anointing ineffective. It is literally poison to our whole spiritual system. There are tragic stories, stories that we know too well, of men and women who were mightily used by God until sin drained them dry. [and I might add, this is talking about repetitive sin, not the occasional slip-up which we confess and don’t keep repeating.]…Think of a godly woman mightily used to heal the sick. How much suffering is relieved through her ministry, how much torment lifted…But she gets caught up in greed, mishandling the ministry funds and lying to her constituents. Before you know it, the anointing is gone! For a while it appeared as if she could mess up and minister at the same time. But no, the pollution gradually drove the Holy Spirit away. Sin saps the anointing, be it the anointing to preach or teach, the anointing to heal or deliver, the anointing to counsel or lead—sin will steal it and leave nothing in return. Worst of all, by destroying the anointing on one person’s life, hundreds, thousands, even millions of others who could have been blessed through that vessel will have to turn elsewhere…you have a sacred duty not to squander that divine enabling. Many lives are dependent on your faithfulness. So don’t let sin put out the embers that burn in your heart; rather, fan them into flame (see 2 Tim. 1:6).” (p. 66)
Eventually you get caught
“Why sin if you know that sooner or later you’re going to get caught? Why do something in secret that eventually will be known in public? Why defile yourself under the covering of darkness if your unclean act will eventually be brought to light?…You see, in God’s universe, nobody really “gets away” with anything. “The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them” (1 Tim. 5:24). One way or another, what we do will catch up with us, either in this world or in the world to come. “In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not cannot be hidden.” (1 Tim. 5:25)…Of course, if you truly repent and turn from your sins, the Lord will wipe them away, sometimes even softening the blow of the negative consequences of those wrongful acts.” (pp. 72-73)
“God shows us the traps in advance [through his Word]. Satan only shows us the bait.” (p.85)
This book is all about those traps and bait of Satan, sin, and the reasons why we should avoid them at all costs. Reading this book in a slow, meditative way will actually give a believer the ability to cut through the chains of longstanding habits of sin. If you find yourself bound by a particular sinful habit, a secret sin-habit no one knows about, do read this book. As the late Dr. Bill Bright said, it will change your life.
The full name of the book is:
GO and Sin No More
A CALL TO HOLINESS
By Michael L. Brown
A Division of Gospel Light
Ventura, California, U.S.A.
or call 1-800-4-GOSPEL
This book has, sadly, gone out of print. You might try looking on http://www.amazon.com under the category of a used book, where a few are available, but it’s going to cost you
To ask Dr. Brown why his book has gone out of print, you can contact him at http://www.askdrbrown.org . Who knows, if he gets enough queries, he may put it back in print
a related subject to this whole Days of Unleavened Bread subject,
log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/romans/Romans6-1-5page1.htm and read through that whole section about the power of the
gospel, and how to get power over sin."