Leaven And Leprosy: Two Types Of Sin
By Hubert H. Buckner
I John 5:17 “All unrighteousness is sin.”
Why does God have the item of leaven and the disease of leprosy as types of sin in Es Word? Galatians 5:9 and I Corinthians 5:6 tell us that “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” In Leviticus 13:57, leprosy is called “a spreading plague.”
Leaven is akin to yeast. Webster’s Dictionary gives “infuse” as a synonym for leaven. Infuse is “to mingle or permeate with a transforming element or admixture.” A small amount of yeast, which is described as a leavening agent, infused into bread dough, causes it to rise and be lightened. It affects the entire loaf.
Leprosy is a highly contagious disease of the flesh. It is extremely dreaded and loathsome because of its rotting effect. The Bible devotes two full chapters (13 and 14) in the book of Leviticus to its description and handling. A person afflicted with this awful sickness had to be isolated (Lev. 13:46). Wherever they went, they were to cry loudly, “Unclean! Unclean!” (Lev. 13:45). Just a touch from a leprous finger was enough to infect a healthy person.
And God likens these two things, leaven and leprosy, unto sin. Only a small amount of leaven is necessary to “lighten” the entire batch of dough. (When I was a kid, Mom baked just about all the bread we ate. Seldom did we get the “store-bought” kind. But either way we called it “light” bread because it was made with yeast.) A desire to be “of the world,” allowed into the heart, can and will “lighten” the Word of God to a person’s life, and they become disobedient. (“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” I John 3 A.) Wanting to is the leaven that leads to partaking of “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” is the admonition of I John 2:15 to us.
Someone need not follow a cult, become a member of the occult, murder, blaspheme, commit adultery, lie, steal or otherwise blatantly disregard God’s commandments to be lost to His kingdom. The facts are that a man, woman or teenager may be totally faithful to the house of the Lord, pay tithes and give offerings, and even hold a position in the assembly yet harbor some little thing in the heart which can eventually destroy them. Ephesians 4:3 1, James 3:14 and especially Hebrews 12:15 warn against the ravages of bitterness if it is permitted to grow. The Word has many passages which caution us not to hold grudges or hate our brother.
We must be careful not to cultivate pride or a haughty spirit (Prov. 16:18, 19; 21:4). In Matt. 16:61 1 and Mark 8:15, Jesus warned the disciples to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. ” He referred to their doctrine. Their righteousness was their own, not God’s. They didn’t practice what they preached. They were snooty, bigoted, closed-minded, hard-hearted, stiff-necked hypocrites. Their whole lump was leavened. The Lord accused them of placing unbearable burdens on people, then not giving help when it was needed. In all probability, when they began adding things, it was with the well-intentioned motive of assisting the Jews in keeping within the law. However, the traditions became more important to them than the Word itself Politics governed them as much as anything. Paul describes the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit in the fifth chapter of his epistle to the church at Galatia. Gossip is included in the same category as murder. “Looking down” on others less fortunate than ourselves is respect of persons. James 2:9 makes a very plain statement: “But if ye have respect to persons, YE COMMIT SIN, (emphasis mine) and are convinced of the law as transgressors. ” Thus were the Pharisees and Sadducees. Their doctrine was works of the flesh and no fruit of the Spirit.
Moses was an obedient servant, the meekest man that ever lived. For a hundred years he did everything right and pleased the Lord. Yet, in a fit of temper, one fretful act kept him from entering the Promised Land (Numbers 20:1-13; Deuteronomy 32:48-52). In our minds we could probably Moses’ anger. I mean, how long had he put up with Israel’s complaining and blaming him for anything and everything that caused them an inconvenience? (Hello? Pastor” Saint”) Actually, it was not the anger in itself which displeased the Almighty. (“Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil” Ephesians 4:26-27.) But Moses permitted his anger to move him to act rashly, forgetting to speak to the rock as God had instructed but striking it instead. “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”
Who has not heard of, nor does not remember Samson, the physically strongest man that ever lived. He received his strength from God by virtue of his long hair, which could not be cut due to his Nazarite vow. But Samson did not have spiritual strength. He married a wife from among the Philistines, the oppressors and enemies of God’s people, Israel, against the advice and wishes of his parents. The Philistine wife clung to her own and betrayed Samson (Judges 14). Then he took up with another Philistine woman named Delilah. She also sold him out to her countrymen for money (Judges 16). Both of these women professed to
love Samson, yet were the cause of his shame and destruction. When he gave in to Delilah’s wheedling and “told her all his heart,” it interrupted his walk with and his work for God. She found the secret of his strength and caused his hair to be shaved off.
Young people need to stay out of the world when seeking a mate. Too often the Christians get in a hurry to marry. They believe they can convert someone to Jesus Christ with a marriage ceremony. The opposite has proven to be true most of the time. It usually works the other way around.
Like Samson, true worshippers have a God-given strength–the Holy Ghost. But should the world be invited into the heart, it will cut off that strength of the Spirit, just as Delilah deprived Samson of God’s gift. True, Samson repented and his strength was restored, but how much more could he have accomplished for God had he not lost it in the first place?
After a clean garment is donned, should it rub against anything unclean, the filth will be transferred, the clothing spotted. The same can happen to a “robe of righteousness,” If it is never washed, it will remain dirty (Titus 3:5). Sure, a coat of similar covering can be worn to hide the contaminated area, but the garment is still unfit to be on a person who truly desires cleanliness from the inside out. Some may do this in a spiritual sense but God knows (“Be sure your sin will find you out” Numbers 32:23). “Touch not the unclean thing” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Looking at some, there may never be cause to fault their appearance. Truly, their dress, conduct, speech, home, etc., may pass man’s test for holiness. Still, It is possible for some little something which would seem insignificant to be infused into a heart until the life is destroyed. Lack of prayer outside of church, envy and jealousy, lusts-these are easily hidden, as well as hate and greed. And these types usually start with a tiny particle which is mostly imagination and failure to think. Jesus told his disciples to watch and pray lest they
fall into temptation (Luke 21:34-36: 22:40;46). EVEN IF THE OFFENSE IS REAL, it is no occasion for a child of God to lose his or her soul! The Bible gives instruction on the management of problems of this sort so there is no division or dissention among his elect. Appearances before man can be maintained, but the Lord looks deeper than that. (“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature-, because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” I Samuel 16:7.) In John 7:24 Jesus said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” By no means is our physical appearance not important. It is very important and must conform to Biblical standards. But it certainly should not be the only standard used in determining someone’s spirituality.
The sin of covetousness by a man named Achan kept victory from Israel until he was exposed. It brought about his death as well as others, also, and resulted in the burning of his possessions (Joshua 7:16-26).
Leprosy is a “spreading plague.” Its effects become evident, and sin, if not repented of, will surface also. Sadly, it may cause many deaths before it is revealed. Leprosy can be healed only by God. Sin can only be stopped by God. It is also a “spreading plague.” So is false doctrine. For example, to leave water baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins out of the plan of salvation is to leaven the whole. And, as with leprosy, once the deceiver has touched someone, it is very, very difficult to heal them (Matthew 24:4).
Recorded in chapter 5 of John’s Gospel is the account of Jesus healing an infirmity which a man had had for 38 years, In verse 14, notice the emphatic admonition the Lord gives the one he has delivered: “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”
“Remember Lot’s wife.”
Leaven and leprosy: two types of sin. Just a little, only a touch, and the entire being is affected. Not using leaven and avoiding lepers (please understand my meaning) is our best protection. As Proverbs 1:10 counsels: “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”
The Above Material Was Published By Apostolic Accent, March 1994, Pages, 5,11. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purposes Only.