Leaven, Sin, and Why to Not Sin

By COGwriter

For this first Day of Unleavened Bread message, let's talk about leaven and sin and the some of the purpose of this festival.

Are leaven, sin, and this festival at all related?

Is there a cause for every affect?

What is leaven?

Does it have any lessons for Christians?

Do Christians still sin?

What is sin anyway?

If Jesus came to die for our sins, does sinning or not sinning make any difference?

If so, do you need to change?

Here is a link to a related sermon: Leaven, Sin, and Purpose.

Days of Unleavened Bread

Unleavened bread is mentioned in the first book of the Bible in Genesis 19:3. It is also alluded to in Genesis 18:6, which indicates that Lot and Abraham could have been keeping what are called the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Instructions about them are given in later books of the Bible::

14 ... You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat — that only may be prepared by you. 17 So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread. (Exodus 12:14b-20 , NKJV throughout unless otherwise specified or in some included articles)

14 Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year: 15 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); (Exodus 23:14-15)

5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD's Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:5-6)

4 And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning. (Deuteronomy 16:4)

16 "Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. (Deuteronomy 16:16-17)

13 ... the three appointed yearly feasts -- the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. (2 Chronicles 8:13)

So, in the Old Testament we see some of what we are to do.

We are to put leaven out of our hoouseholds--there is to be none. This obviously has to be done prior to the start of the Days of Unleavened Bread in order to obey the command in Deuteronomy 16:4.

We are to actually eat unleavened bread for seven days.

We are to treat the first and last day of Unleavened Bread like a Sabbath day, except that we are also give offerings as we are able.

We are to, where possible, attend church services, in modern times either in person or online. That is related to the command about them being holy convocations.

While the penalty for not doing so is to be cut off from being God's people, the reasons why God had unleveaned bread to be consumed for one week is not specified.

The reason is not the same as the Passover, because the children of Israel would have had plenty of time to make leavened bread over a week.

The children of Israel were to keep these days, but were not fully knowledgeable of several of the lessons they teach.

Why do I say this?

Well, although leaven and its connections to sin are taught in the New Testament, we do not see them explicitely taught the same way in the Hebrews scriptures.

What is Leaven?

Before getting to how leaven pictures sin, perhaps this would be a good time to define leaven.

Here is how it is defined by Dictionary.com (accessed 04/11/22):

leaven

noun

1. a substance, as yeast or baking powder, that causes fermentation and expansion of dough or batter.

2. fermented dough reserved for producing fermentation in a new batch of dough.

Here is some information from the old Worldwide Church of God as to what physical leaven is:

Just what is leaven? Which foods are to be avoided during the Days of Unleavened Bread?

God uses leaven to typify sin (I Cor. 5:1-8). Sin puffs up just as physical leaven puffs up (verse 2). Unleavened bread is a type of an unleavened life.

To understand exactly what is included in the leaven we are to avoid during the Days of Unleavened Bread, let's first notice some of the Hebrew words translated "leaven" in the Old Testament. Mechametz refers to leavening agents -- substances used to puff up or produce fermentation, causing dough to rise. Yeast, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and baking powder are such substances.

Another Hebrew word rendered "leaven" is seh-ohd. This literally means "sourdough," a naturally fermenting yeasty batter that was the most common leaven of the Israelites, and which is still often used to cause baked goods to rise and become light in texture.

These leavening agents cause foods to become chametz. This Hebrew word is translated "that which is leavened" in Exodus 12:19. It is also translated "leavened bread" in a number of places. It refers to all foods that leaven has caused to rise, including bread, cake, some crackers, certain cookies, some prepared cereals and pies. A few candies and other foods also make use of leavening agents. If you are in doubt about any product, check the list of ingredients on the wrapper.

Instead of eating leavened bread, we have the positive command to eat unleavened bread (Ex. 13:6). We may also eat unleavened pies and cereals together with all the meats, drinks, fruits and vegetables we normally consume.

Most stores carry a variety of unleavened breads. Always check the ingredients on the label to be sure. Or, you may enjoy making your own. (Questions & Answers. Good News, March 1981)

A more complete list of what are and are not considered to be leavening agents is in the article: Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? 

Leaven is something we are to avoid, and not even have in our households during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Leaven Pictures Sin

The New Testament ties leaven in with sin.

The old WCG put out the following:

An Important Reminder - How Leaven Pictures Sin

God offers Christians vital lessons through the Days of Unleavened Bread. What do these days picture, and how can they help you lead a happier life? (Kakos GM. An Important Reminder - How Leaven Pictures Sin. Good News, March 1984)

What about being saved after this life?

Will get to the happier life in a bit, but notice about salvation?

In Acts 2, the Apostle Peter spoke saying:

36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:36-39)

Those early Christian converts began something that God's true Church still practices — baptism for the forgiveness of sin.

As far as sinning goes, do Christians, even after repentance and baptism still sin?

Yes.

Notice what the Apostle John was inspired to write:

6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)

Although we are to walk a different way than the world when we walk with Jesus and accept that His blood cleanses us from sin, notice what the Apostle John wrote next:

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

Yes, Christians need to confess our sins and put sin out of our lives.

Symbolically we do that each year when we examine ourselves and remove physical leaven prior to the start of the Days of Unleavened Bread.

But in addition to putting sin out, we need to put Christ in us, which we symbolically do when we eat unleavened bread during the days of unleavened bread.

What is Sin?

As far as sin goes, what is it?

The late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

The World's Definition {of Sin}.

The way to act and live that gives those who dare to do it increased pleasure, fun, good time, enjoyment. The "forbidden fruit" that is sweeter, more desirable. The concept, though unrealized, is that God is unjust and unfair, forbidding us really to enjoy life.

As a consequence, sin is the desirable way forbidden, or at least frowned on, by respectable society under religious influence. If sin is to be enjoyed, it must be in secret unless one is to defy society or be branded with disgrace — or so it used to be, though society today is becoming broader minded, more tolerant of sin, permitting more and more what previous generations forbade. This concept was aptly illustrated by the death-bed confession of an atheist. His daughter came to his bed-side and asked: "Father, now that you know you are going to die, tell me the truth. Which do you now think is best — your atheism or Mother's Christianity?"

"Well daughter," the dying man replied. "I still believe my way is the best way to live by, but I'll have to confess at last that your mother's religion is the best to die in." There's the common conception. People unthinkingly have a picture of a God who is unfair — who expects people to give up the worth-while things of life, deny one's self enjoying life, and live a life of unhappiness in order to be "saved."

And according to this view the way to cheat God is to live in sin and enjoy life, then squeeze through at the last minute by a death-bed confession! This concept is Satan's masterpiece delusion, fastened on an unthinking world! It pictures the god of Herbert Spencer's distorted imagination — a monster, who "saves" people through FEAR of penalties unless they forsake more desirable ways for his narrow and unhappy way. It hides God's love, turns God's law of love into an evil thing, cheats human beings of the happiness, peace, success and joy that could be theirs through a discernment of the TRUE values! ...

the world ... Deceived as to right and wrong, it does wrong, and then wonders why it is so unhappy — why there's so much suffering in the world today!

GOD HELP US TO DISCERN THE TRUE VALUES FROM THE FALSE! God has revealed the right and the TRUE way! (Armstrong HW. TWO DEFINITIONS of sin. Plain Truth, April 1950)

Yes, the world often wants to live the wrong way.

It does not want to consider the reality that some actions are sinful.

What is sin?

Here is how the Bible defines it:

4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4, NKJV)

4 Whosoever committeth sin commmitteth also iniquity; and sin is iniquity. (1 John 3:4, DRB)

4 Everyone  who  sins  breaks  the  law  and  in  fact,  sin  is  lawlessness. (EOB New Testament)

4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4, KJV)

What law?

God’s law, which is in His word (cf. Psalm 119:11), and that includes the Ten Commandments (cf. 1 John 2:3-4; Psalm 119:172; see also the free book, available online at www.ccog.org, titled:The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

Although no one has been forced to sin, the Bible teaches that all have sinned (Romans 3:23).

Sin is destructive.

Why do humans sin?

Well, for the same reason that Eve and Adam sinned. They were deceived by Satan and/or their lusts.

Satan has deceived the whole world (Revelation 12:9). He has used every evil thought he could to influence and deceive all of humankind. Satan has broadcast his philosophy far and wide (cf. Ephesians 2:2) — appealing to vanity, lust and greed to influence us.

The old WCG put out the following:

But how, exactly, should a true Christian deal with sin, both before and after baptism? This question brings us to our subject, the Days of Unleavened Bread. To understand this Festival and its meaning and application to our lives, let's go back in history.

These days are commanded

Because of famine, the descendants of the patriarch Israel ended up in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. There they became slaves (Ex. 1:8-11). Through a series of miracles, God finally released the Israelites from bondage. Among the miracles was the death of the Egyptian firstborn. To protect their own firstborn, the Israelites were required to begin keeping the Festival called Passover (Ex. 12:3-14).

For Christians today, this Festival pictures our acceptance of Jesus Christ's sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. ...

God instituted, just after the Passover, another festival — the Days of Unleavened Bread. This seven-day festival pictured the release of Israel from Egypt (verses 15-17).

Leaven symbolizes sin

During this Festival, all leaven and leavened foods are to be put out of your home and off your property (Ex. 12:15, 13:7). This includes yeast, baking soda, baking powder — all leavening agents, substances that produce fermentation and cause dough to rise. The products of leaven are bread, cake, some crackers, certain cookies and some prepared cereals and pies. A few candies and other foods also use leavening agents.

Of course, there is nothing sinful about these products themselves. Removing them from our homes is merely a symbolic enactment of removing sin from our lives.

Instead of eating these leavened foods, replace them with unleavened products (Ex. 12:15, 19-20, Lev. 23:6). These include matzos, hardtack and a number of flatbreads. But beware: Some foods that are sold as "kosher for Passover" contain leavening agents.

If you are in doubt about whether a product is leavened, check the list of ingredients on the wrapper. If you are still unsure, ask someone experienced or don't eat it. Remember: "Whatever is not from faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23). Whenever you eat bread during these days, it should be unleavened.

Far beyond the physical uses of leaven are the significant spiritual meanings.

After being jeered at and tempted by the hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees, Jesus said to His own disciples, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees"(Matt. 16:6). (Kakos GM. An Important Reminder - How Leaven Pictures Sin. Good News, March 1984)

Jesus taught about spiritual leaven:

6 Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees."

7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "It is because we have taken no bread."

8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? -- but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6-12)

The Pharisees and Sadducees were puffed up about their own knowledge and traditions and missed spiritual truths. That is also consistent with many religious leaders in the world today.

The old WCG put out the following:

The disciples thought Jesus was talking about physical bread, but He wasn't. He was talking about the doctrine of the religious authorities, which led people into sin (Matt. 16:11-12, 23:13). By way of analogy, this leaven of false doctrine has spread through the whole world as a tool of Satan's deception (Rev. 12:9)!

The apostle Paul also used leaven as a symbol for sin. A certain Church member was committing a serious sin and making no progress toward repentance. Paul said this person was like a little leaven that would affect the whole lump — other Church members — with his sinful way of life. The person was put out of the Church.

Since Paul wrote to the brethren during the Days of Unleavened Bread, they would have already put out the physical leavening from their homes. Now he encouraged them to put out the leaven of malice and wickedness — sin. He told them to eat the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth — righteousness (I Cor. 5:1-8). (Kakos GM. An Important Reminder - How Leaven Pictures Sin. Good News, March 1984)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles — that a man has his father's wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:1-8)

Paul is telling them it is not enough just to remove leaven, they need to keep the feast, which is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and do so spiritually as well.

Paul warned about being puffed up through their glorying. Pride puffs people up. The Apostle Paul specifically used the expression, "puffed up with pride" (1 Timothy 3:6) when he warned against a novice becoming an ordained church leader. He also warned that instead of mourning (repenting) the Corinthian Christians were wrongly puffed up (1 Corinthians 5:2).

They were wrong.

And regarding the Pharisees, notice that Jesus also taught:

1 ..."Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. (Luke 12:1-2)

Hypocrites try to look like something they are not. Leaven makes bread look bigger than it is by putting in pockets of emptiness (air). The Pharisees looked religious to themselves and others, but were not acceptable to God. Furthermore, notice that hypocrisy and sin will be exposed. That is something that the Days of Unleavened Bread help teach us.

The old WCG put out the following:

Sin versus righteousness

When you consider the nature of both leavened and unleavened bread, you can see several spiritual comparisons with sin and righteousness.

Let's notice them:

Grow in righteousness

What God is showing us through the analogy of leaven and sin, particularly at this time of the Days of Unleavened Bread, is clear: He wants you to escape the clutches of sin and lead a righteous life. But how can you eliminate sin and grow in righteousness? The following "three Rs" -- recognize, resist and repent -- can help.

1) Recognize sin. Can you recognize sin? Many cannot.

Why?

Most people overlook God's simple, clear definition for sin: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4, Authorized Version).

Discerning sin is a matter of understanding and applying God's law. At the basis of God's law are the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17, Deut. 5:6-21). Do you know what the Ten Commandments are? If not, how can you possibly expect to overcome and put sin -- spiritual leaven -- out of your life? God's laws are real, working forces that guarantee good results when you are in harmony with them. They were given to be lived and acted upon, not ignored or outrightly rejected!

Beyond the basic commandments, God requires obedience to biblical principles referring to one's conduct. While some things are not written in the form of a direct command, the underlying principle or spirit of the law is nonetheless just as binding (Matt. 5:17-48, Rom. 13:9)! Under this category fall aspects of God's civil laws and statements made by His apostles and patriarchs.

Examine yourself, as II Corinthians 13:5 commands, and see how God's laws expose the "leaven" in your character. Are you REALLY putting God first in EVERYTHING? Are you humbly submitting to His authority?

Can you admit when you're wrong? For a thorough study of God's basic law and how it applies in your life, read our free booklet {The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast}.

2) Resist sin. We have already seen through the analogy of leaven that sin spreads quickly and easily. Therefore you must resist temptation before it turns into sin (Jas.1:13-15). Doing this requires self-control -- actively resisting wrong thoughts and replacing them with right thoughts (II Cor. 10:4-5).

In struggling against sin you may reach a point when you grow so battle weary that darts of self-pity and injustice pierce you. At such times it's easy to think you've done all you can. Don't be fooled. You can do more (Heb. 12:4).

Throughout the Bible we see the number 7 used as a symbol of completeness (Gen. 2:2, Josh. 6:16, Rev. 16:17). In relationship to the Days of Unleavened Bread, the number 7 pictures the complete elimination of sin. You should earnestly strive to eliminate sin from your life (II Tim. 2:19).

3) Repent of sin. Even when you recognize sin and resist it, you will still find yourself falling into sin (I John 1:8).

When this happens, what should you do? Strive not to sin, but when you do, seek God's forgiveness. Upon real repentance -- abandoning the wrong way and beginning to live the right way -- God promises to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

Some would say not to try so hard -- to just rely on grace. But what does God say?

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Rom. 6:1-2).

Will you overcome all sins all at once? Absolutely not! Some sins are so deeply and habitually rooted that they may take years to totally overcome. Don't use that as an excuse to continue, but don't dismay either.

Ask yourself, Am I sinning as often as I once did? Does this sin have as much control over me as it once did? If the answer is no, you're growing -- making progress.

Today the world is in misery because of sin. Yet humanity rejects the very Festival -- the Days of Unleavened Bread -- that pictures the process that would lead them out of their sins. What about you? Are you going to keep these special days as God has instructed His people to? Will you be learning the many important lessons that the Days of Unleavened Bread are meant to teach you?

If you do work at ridding your life of sin, you will be greatly blessed, now and in the future as a member of God's Family: "In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death" (Prov. 12:28). (Kakos GM. An Important Reminder - How Leaven Pictures Sin. Good News, March 1984)

God is faithful. But, while it APPEARS that 'living in sin is easy,' it has consequences: " be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).

Understand that truly relying on God can get you past sin, but relying on yourself is dangerous:

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)

(The above passages came after those related to the Hebrews in Exodus, hence that is another tie to the Days of Unleavened Bread).

Do not use the excuse that you have tried and failed.

Consider also:

6 ... "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)

16. And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that it may be with you throughout the age: 17. Even the Spirit of the truth, which the world cannot receive because it perceives it not, nor knows it; but you know it because it dwells with you, and shall be within you. 18. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (John 4:16-17, A Faithful Version)

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Do not give up.

The Days of Unleavened Bread are an annual reminder. If people were perfect after baptism and/or Passover, perhaps God would not have had the Days of Unleavened Bread. But Christians are not perfect:

1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 1:8-2:6)

Because God knew we would not be perfect, He had a plan for us to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Have faith in God (for further assistance consider reading our free online booklet: Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen).

If you want to overcome sin, pray and strive to overcome (for further assistance on prayer consider reading our free online booklet: Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?).

What's So Bad About Sin?

The world actually promotes many sins.

As far as the Ten Commandments go, consider:

1. The world puts other things, and some people everything, before the true God.

2. The world feels idolatry is fine.

3. The world sees cursing as fine--free expression.

4. The world does not think it should keep God's Sabbath.

5. Manyin the world are fine with dishonoring parents.

6. Nearly all in the world condone warfare and violent sports, with most condoning killing of unborn babies.

7. The world, particularly in its entertainment, encourages sexual immorality.

8. Many moderns think it is fine to have governments have confiscatory taxes on some as well as to allow others to steal to make up for perceived past mistreatments.

9. Few politicians and religious leaders would keep their positions if they did not, from time to time (and sometimes more often) bear false witness.

10. The world thinks coveting is fine and much of the advertising industry encourages it.

As far as how bad sin is, the old WCG put out the following:

What's So Bad About Sin?

Why does God classify some actions as wrong and others as right? Why is it wrong to commit sin? Did God just arbitrarily decide that some actions would be classed as sin? (Charles F Hunting & David R Ord. What's So Bad About Sin? Good News, April 1974)

Before going further, what I was taught was and was not sin by the Roman Catholic church made me think it was fairly arbitary. Actually, one of the reasons I became interested in the Church of God was because it helped me understand how God's laws made sense and were for our good.

Anyway, back to the article:

Did He say to Himself: "We've got to have some things that are wrong, so I'll just choose some nice, tantalizing, exciting things and they can be sin. Then anyone who gets caught doing those things can be put to death"? Is that how sin came to be sin? Is it only sin because God says so? And could it be that these things we call sin are actually good for us, but God somehow doesn't want us to have them?

It simply is not rational to believe that a God who created this earth with all its beauty and harmony, and with laws which have a clear cause-and-effect relationship, would institute spiritual laws merely as some type of mental exercise. (Charles F Hunting & David R Ord. What's So Bad About Sin? Good News, April 1974)

I agreed decades ago about cause and effect, and still do.

Back to the article:

If sin is so bad as to warrant the death penalty, then the reason ought to be revealed in the Scriptures. There ought to be an obvious, cause-and-effect relationship between sin and death. Notice what one of the most important "sin" scriptures teaches us. It states that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23).

Wages are something we earn. In this passage wages are contrasted with God's gift, which is eternal life. One thing we earn, the other we are given. The effect — what we earn as our wages — is death. The cause is sin. No arbitrary penalty for sin is so much as hinted at in this scripture. Take a look at another well-known passage —

Galatians 6:7-8: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption...."

Again, a simple cause-and-effect relationship! What you sow grows until it finally brings forth what you reap. ...

Let's understand what occurs when a person breaks God's law. God warns, "The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of fools shall destroy them" (Prov. 11:3). Does perverseness — living contrary to God's law — destroy people because God inflicts a penalty, or is it an automatic, built-in result?

Listen to what the Apostle Paul has to say:

"And the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burned out, consumed) with lust for one another, men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrong doing and going astray which was [their] fitting retribution" (Rom. 1:27, The Amplified Bible).

Perversion brings an automatic penalty! It isn't wrong because God arbitrarily decreed that it is; it's wrong because it will hurt you! It will do irreparable damage to your ability to enjoy the fulfillment of right family life — the engendering and raising of children through a balanced father-mother relationship.

Speaking of those who are primarily motivated by their carnal minds, Paul wrote:

"This I say therefore... that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness" (Eph. 4:17-18).

These people, because of their perverted practices, have rendered themselves totally incapable of right emotions and feelings. They don't understand that this is no arbitrary code of morals — they don't know that it is a living law that you can't break without paying an awesome penalty. They have gone in a way of life, in a pattern of existence, which has gradually dulled their ability to enjoy right relationships.

Why is adultery a sin? Because it harms the human mind — the most finely tuned instrument that exists. It robs the individual of the ability to enjoy sex in the way God intended. Somehow, wholesome relationships in marriage become dull — a man's wife no longer really attracts him in the way that she used to. Oh, it may not happen overnight — "swingers" may seem like they are having fun for a time. But when they embark on these illicit experiences they are little by little destroying their capacity to experience true joy in marriage. It's a path that leads only to frustration, heartache, and ultimately death.

Is sin enjoyable? You bet it is! That's why people engage in it. That's why temptation is so alluring. Adultery is physically and mentally pleasurable. (Charles F Hunting & David R Ord. What's So Bad About Sin? Good News, April 1974)

Let me insert here that I find the idea of adultery repulsive as I do with most aspects of the LGBTQ movement. That being said, Satan wants sin to look good to all of us--do not fall for it. As Christians, we are not to be ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).

Back to the article:

And the kids who smoke pot are getting a kick out of it. (Charles F Hunting & David R Ord. What's So Bad About Sin? Good News, April 1974)

That may be, but by my office, every day people walk by whose minds have been seriously damaged by drugs. I suspect that if teens could see many of the 'homeless' drug-afflicted that are common here that many would be scared off of using drugs.

Back to the article:

The forbidden fruit tasted good to Adam and Eve. ....

Hebrews 11:25 says Moses chose to suffer affliction with God's people rather "than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." But sin's short-term pleasures automatically bring a long-term penalty.

Adam and Eve lived to see one of their own dearly beloved boys brutally murdered by the other. They finally witnessed the entire earth filled with violence, and they eventually died instead of enjoying the eternal life God had offered. The Bible actually shows that those who insistently engage in sin are, spiritually speaking, already dead. It likens them to a corpse. (Charles F Hunting & David R Ord. What's So Bad About Sin? Good News, April 1974)

Sin is bad becauses it harms the lives of the sinner and often the lives of others.

Notice the following:

1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. (James 4:1-2)

Yes, violating the Ten Commandments leads to real wars as well.

If people would strive to obey them we would not have wars. But also we would not need to fear when being in any neighborhood, most locks, shelters for the abused, etc. Money spent on military and security matters could be diverted to help all.

Furthermore, sin is the way of get.

If everyone is getting, no one is producing.

All will die.

The Ten Commandments are the way to live.

Blessings come from obeying them.

19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; ... (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Jesus said:

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

We are to do more than not steal, for example. We are to produce and help others:

28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28)

You may think since you are not a thief that does not apply to you.

Well, it applies to everyone. You are to be a giver:

6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

The Bible is clearly teaching cause and effect.

So, did Jesus, Himself:

24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:24-34)

If we will live God's way, God promises have to give us what we need. Cause and effect--do it God's way and the effect will be better, Satan, instead, wants you to worry and have doubt.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Cause and effect with a promise. The Days of Unleavened is a piece that works together for us.

Consider also the following:

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)

The Bible is clear that there is a cause for every effect. Do not think that you or others are "getting away with it" because punishment is not immediate.

In Galatians, notice that Paul wrote that we are to do more than not sin. We are to strive to do good to all. Doing good to all is part of loving your neighbor.

On the first and last day of unleavened bread, one day to do good to all is through Holy Day offerings (see also Why Holy Day Offerings? and/or watch a related video message: Why Holy Day Offerings?). God does not need your money, but it is good for you to give. Such giving helps others through getting out the truth, transforming lives, and, yes, even in physical ways when we help the poor, widows, and orphans (for CCOG spending details click on the following: Donations).

But we are not talking about financial giving. Giving of your time, your love, your assistance. This is what Christians should do. This is for our good.

As far as sin goes, it does not lead to a truly abundant life, but destruction.

Don't Become Hardened to Sin

Brethren, we need to RENEW OUR GUARD against all the sins around us — all the rottenness of this evil, degenerate, filthy world! The Apostle Paul warns us:

"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the DECEITFULNESS of sin" (Heb. 3:12-13).

Have some of us begun to take sin for granted? Is sin merely a "religious" word? Or do we see and HATE the awful results that follow the violation of God's wonderful laws? Some are no longer with us because they didn't fear to lie. Others have thought that to borrow from second tithe in an emergency was no great sin. Others have left the Church through dating, then marrying, an unconverted person. None intended to leave the Church at first, but that was the inevitable result of an attitude and action which minimized sin!

Check up on yourself. Do you minimize your sins? Are you "coexisting" with certain "small" sins in your life? Don't allow yourself to be blinded to the seriousness of even the "SMALLEST" sins in your life — because if you tolerate them, they will eventually lead to the lake of fire!

The perfect approach to all sins was given by the Apostle Peter:

"For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him ESCHEW EVIL, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil" (I Peter 3:10-12).

This is the attitude we should have if we want to live forever! The more we overcome sin, and live righteously before God, the more He can bless us and use us in His Work — and the greater reward we will receive in His soon-coming Kingdom. Therefore, let's abhor all sin, brethren — let's FLEE from sin, and cleave to righteousness with all our heart and strength! (Walker L, Do You Hate Sin? Good News, January-April 1971)

We need to hate sin enough to strive not to engage in it.

We need to have faith that what God has defined as sin is harmful to us and others.

We are to produce and give.

Avoiding leaven during the Days of Unleavened Bread increases our focus. We see that leaven is all around us. And in this world, so is sin.

We all need to increase our focus in putting sin out of our lives. The Days of Unleavened Bread help us to do that--that is part of its purpose.

Furthermore, resting ot the first and last Days of Unleavened Bread is good for us physically. God made us and knows what is best for us. We should not argue and decided we should do something else other than obeying Him on these days.

Attending services and/or watching sermon messages helps us spiritually, We all are to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18) and the Holy Days are another way we do that.

God's ways are for our good.

What Difference Does it Make?

Some do not think that avoiding leaven during the Days of Unleavened Bread is at all important.

Some do not seem to think that avoiding sin is that important.

Part of the purpose of these days is to teach us that avoiding sin is quite important.

The truth is that when you sin, you harm yourself and often others.

You are damaging your potential. when you tolerate sin.

You are hurting your reward, and your eternity, when you sin.

Notice something that Jesus raught:

27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matthew 16:27)

Now, even most Laodicean Christians realize that you will be rewarded according to their works. But, our position in the coming Kingdom of God will be affected by our works, as well as our sins of ommission and commission.

Yet, Laodicean Christians often do not realize that it is not only their position in the Kingdom that will be affected, but their eternity.

The reason God created what He did was to make eternity better.

The reason God made people was so that each ones would be able to give love in their own unique manner in order to make eternity better for themselves and everyone else (see also our free online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?).

The purpose of these days of unleavened bread are to help you reach your potential.

When you sin, you hurt your ability to do that, and not only will your position be potentially lessened, but also your eternal joy and happiness.

Most, however, do not think about that.

Most simply do not have the faith to realize that God's ways are truly better for them now and throughout eternity, no matter what the cost may appear.

A reason we do not just take unleavened bread at Passover and then not avoid leaven for seven days is because God wants us to get the idea more clearly that we need to strive to put all sin out of our lives.

Keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread is for our good.

Srtive to keep sin out of your life and you will help your own eternity.

Here is a link to a related sermon: Leaven, Sin, and Purpose.

Thiel B. Leaven, Sin, and Why to Not Sin. COGwriter (c) 2022 https://www.cogwriter.com/unleaven-bread-sin-purpose.htm

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