“O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart” (Psalm 15:1-2).
God desires all to stand on the one true foundation that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All who are truly saved are standing on this foundation. “Therefore thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed’” (Is. 28:16).
Once we are on that simple foundation, God wants us to build our knowledge and understanding of His ways in integrity (being whole - undivided in devotion, behavior, belief) through His Word. To do this, we must learn from His Holy Spirit, Who teaches us through God’s Word about God’s will and His Truth. Through this process, we root out the Cognitive Dissonance that has been sown into our minds and hearts by satan’s world.
Remember that Cognitive Dissonance refers to beliefs, thoughts, and knowledge that are incompatible yet which “coexists” in our heads and hearts. An example of Cognitive Dissonance would be the idea that all religions lead to the same god. To believe that Islam and Christianity worship the same God is to lack the understanding that the attributes of Allah and the teachings of Islam are not compatible with the attributes of Jesus and His teachings.
While Cognitive Dissonance can prevent people from arriving at the foundation of Jesus (as in the example above), it can even prevent the Believer from building anything structurally sound or lasting upon that foundation of Christ, upon which they stand.
Think of some examples of cognitive dissonance in the Church: Salvation by grace, but also works of the law (the Galatians would like to claim both); We are slaves of our master God, but also sons of our heavenly Father; Pastors will say, “Have faith in God’s provision, but give us what money you have.” Where is the integrity in these things?
“You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” (Gal. 3:1-5)
When you read the Epistles, you can clearly see that Paul was often correcting Cognitive Dissonance in the churches. Because of this Cognitive Dissonance, the churches were unable to build their understanding, knowledge, or wisdom on the foundation of truth because they believed conflicting ideas to be true at the same time. Their efforts are vain—like a man trying to put together a furniture kit with parts missing and wrong parts added in—he gets nowhere.
Paul uses the word “leaven” to describe this Cognitive Dissonance: “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:6-8).
The Gospel is unleavened bread, but many of the churches were adding leaven into it. Leaven and unleavened bread are not compatible. Leaven makes unleavened bread unusable for use as unleavened bread—it is no longer whole, it is mixed. That little leaven destroys the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. You are left without integrity. Even so. Amen.