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  • Ethos Church


March 28, 2023

You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.


There are two easy-to-understand illustrations in this passage: a race and yeast. Let’s look at both:


Running a race is a good metaphor to symbolize Christian living. Paul often used athletic illustrations in his letters. His readers were familiar with the Olympic Games as well as other Greek athletic contents. It’s important to note, however, that Paul never uses the image of the race to tell people how to be saved. He is always talking to Christ-followers about how to live the Christian life. We do not run to be saved; we run because we are already saved and want to fulfill God’s will in our lives. It is necessary to pursue our goal with an athlete’s discipline and focus - to run faithfully in the lane marked “Grace.”


Yeast is a good illustration of sin. It is small, but if left alone, it grows and spreads. False doctrine is the same. A (slight) wrong view of God and His ways eventually grows and causes big problems. We often think a little law is good for us - that we shouldn’t go too big on grace. But the addition of law doesn’t add flavor to the Christian life. It changes the entire form of the Christian life. It looks different, tastes different, is different.


1. God has called us to run the race faithfully in the lane marked “Grace.” What cuts in and gets you off course?

2. What sin or false doctrine is acting as yeast in your life? Pray and repent.


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