As part of the memorial of Passover, the Israelites are to have a feast, but it’s a feast of unleavened bread, flatbread. They are to not eat risen bread for a week. Not only that, they are to remove the leaven from their house. They are to clean and sweep every corner until all the leaven is gone, which means not a crumb anywhere.
I don’t know about you, but I know my house and my kids. I know I sweep and vacuum daily and still find the thought of having no crumbs anywhere in my house an impossible task. There has to be a crack somewhere with a crumb in it. No matter how hard I cleaned, it wouldn’t be gone, not by my hand only.
It seems like the only possibility would be to stop eating any leaven and then eventually, it would all be gone, decomposed, nibbled by ants, whatever. If it was only being replaced with what was acceptable, then it would find its way out of our home and lives. The way to do that is to eat the pure Word of God and not mix it with other teachings.
It’s easy to equate leaven with sin, but in the Gospels, it’s equated with hypocrisy (Luke 12:1) and the teaching of the Pharisees (Matthew 16:12). In the Epistles, it’s also related to people who are causing Christians to stumble, keeping them from walking in obedience (Galatians 5:7-9, 1 Corinthians 5:5-7).
We need to remove sin from our lives, and that might include removing people in our lives that are encouraging sin by their lifestyle and by their teaching.
What Christian teaching encourages sin? Teachings that say God is too loving to send anyone to hell. Teaching that says God understands our weakness, so He understands that we are sinners and can’t help it. It’s okay to do what you want and sin because God will forgive you. Teachings that our culture is different now and that our understanding of the Bible has to change with times and use that to justify sin. And all sorts of other teachings that aren’t God’s word.
There’s one simple way to avoid the leaven of hypocrisy. It’s to know the truth and walk in it; it’s to know Jesus. Seek to know Him as Lord and Savior, but also as a friend you walk with. Get to know Him.