Who Has Bewitched You? (Part 2)

Still Talking to Preachers!

Paul addresses the issue of sin, grace, and the law quite adequately without there being a need for me to be redundant, but I have to say, that Paul was a very wise man—knowing exactly how “mankind” would oppose themselves to God.  Paul knew the law; he was instructed in the law and promoted because of his understanding of those things not permitted under the law.   But when he met Jesus, he gained even greater insight to understanding God and grace.

When he wrote his letter to the church at Galatia, he was appalled at those who had been introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ and had accepted Him as their personal Savior and yet denied the power of The Spirit to guide.  He had to remind them of a number of things and they are revealed in Galatians.  He’s concerned that the enemy (anyone opposed to God) has enticed them by witchcraft or cast a spell on them with their attempts to keep people under the letter of the law.  He reminds them that those who understand what Jesus did on the cross and the power He gave to those who believed by His Spirit had no need to live under the letter of the law because the Spirit who dwells within guides and corrects.  The letter of the law entailed man conducting certain rituals—things they did using their hands (flesh)—to indicate compliance with the law to others in position of authority. We know no longer have a need to have ritual practices of anything in order to be declared loved by God.  The one thing we must do is to obey—love Him, love others—and when we truly love, we cannot sin.

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched (charmed, cast a spell over you)?” (Galatians 3:1a,b NIV)  “Are you so foolish (unwise, showing a lack of sense)? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3 NIV)

Ouch! Not only does Paul ask them if they’ve been bewitched, but then he asks them “have they lost their minds?” (my words). This is what happens to people who are misled and deceived by the enemy.  They are confused and appear to lack common sense (which is certainly not so common any more). But Paul didn’t stop with the Galatians, He turned up the heat in his letter to the Roman church when they decided that grace gave them license to sin and be forgiven.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness “ Romans 1:18,

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God, nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:20-28 NIV).

After reading and re-reading this passage of scripture, I find it very difficult to believe that anyone who claims to a Christian or a preacher of The Gospel could possibly believe that God is not concerned with our behavior and our “sins”.  And for the record, even though most discredit Paul for everything, this is New Testament admonition—after Jesus returned to the Father.  If we truly understood everything said—we would know that God is not pleased with our opposition to His instructions, but He allows it to happen and then sits back and waits for the consequences of our actions to fall upon us—and they do.