Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bewitched - Galatians 3:1-3

"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?"
(Galatians 3:1-3)

Are you sensing a theme in Paul's letter? Does anything in particular seem to be a pivotal point in his writing?!

Our salvation is all of Christ, only of Christ, freely of Christ, and fully of Christ! Justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We bring nothing to our salvation but sin and to think that we can "do" anything to earn our way to God's favor is the height of deception.

Well, here we go again. The theme is still weaving its way - and weave on it must for if we miss this point we have missed everything!

At the start of chapter 3, Paul is speaking to those who have embraced Christ BUT are still trying to do something to merit His favor and to earn their keep. He is about to question them on several fronts.

First, he asks "what in the world has gotten into you?!" In the Biblical language he writes: "You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?"

Oh, how easily led astray we silly sheep can be.
We are so quickly drawn away.
We are readily deceived.
We are seduced so simply.
We are "bewitched" without much effort at all.

I loved Luther's thoughts on this bewitching.
"We are all exposed to the influence of the devil, because he is the prince and god of the world in which we live. Satan is clever. He does not only bewitch men in a crude manner, but also in a more artful fashion. He bedevils the minds of men with hideous fallacies. Not only is he able to deceive the self-assured, but even those who profess the true Christian faith. There is not one among us who is not at times seduced by Satan into false beliefs."
He continues:
"The tricky devil can make a lie look like the truth. Since he has this uncanny ability to make us believe a lie until we would swear a thousand times it were the truth, we must not be proud, but walk in fear and humility, and call upon the Lord Jesus to save us from temptation.
Although I am a doctor of divinity, and have preached Christ and fought His battles for a long time, I know from personal experience how difficult it is to hold fast to the truth. I cannot always shake off Satan. I cannot always apprehend Christ as theScriptures portray Him. Sometimes the devil distorts Christ to my vision. But thanks be to God, who keeps us in His Word, in faith, and in prayer."
Friends, let us recognize how quickly we can be capsized,
     how prone we are to wander,
     and how easily we can buy the lie.

Knowing that, let us flee to Jesus - the Author and Perfector of our faith, the Shepherd and Guardian of our Souls.

He alone can keep us from being "bewitched" by the luring aroma of works righteousness. Neither our justification nor our sanctification can be achieved through our own efforts. Be not foolish. Having begun in Christ we will also be perfected in Christ. Having been regenerated by the Spirit we will also be matured by the Spirit. He who began the good work in us will complete the good work in us.

It is all of grace - from start to finish. Rest in Him who gave Himself for our sins! Rely upon Him who delivered Himself for my sins! We are crucified with Christ, resurrected with Christ, and living in Christ.

In His glorious grace,

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