Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, April 25, 2016
The old television show Bewitched featured a seemingly ordinary housewife who possessed magical powers because she was a witch. A quick wiggle of her nose initiated magical events. Despite the potential to make life perfect by altering unpleasant situations, inevitably her husband suffered for her well-intentioned magic. Instead of smoothing out the rough spots in life, it robbed him of his joy and created more trouble than it was worth. The couple’s use of this power bewitched them.
In contrast, Jesus Christ offers us a life of privileges, joy, freedoms, and power through His grace. Yet, despite our best efforts, and not unlike the worldly TV couple, something and/or someone is always trying to spoil our grace life. In our case, it’s a devil, not a witch, who is thwarting our peace, joy and happiness. Satan, the god of this world, would like nothing better than to spoil your grace life completely (John 10:10). He has been doing it for thousands of years and he is still doing it today. He will continue to bewitch you if you allow him.
The Apostle Paul was perhaps the first to witness Christians bewitched by Satan. Paul observed Satan’s mischief on an early group of believers living in the area of Galatia. The book of Galatians was written by Paul to try to help the believers in these churches get back on track and circumvent Satan, or anyone else intent on ill-will. Satan wanted to cut them off from grace living and rob them of their joy.
The book of Galatians is largely an appeal to live by grace. The people to whom this book was written had in just a few short years drifted from the liberty of grace. They had started out on a course for Christ, but had fallen back from the freedom of grace to their former lives of bondage through legalism and self-sufficiency. Paul admonishes these people for abandoning their grace life.
“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? But now you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? What has happened to all your joy?
The problem was Judaizers, provoked and encouraged by Satan, had come into the new church behind Paul and subtly persuaded these infant Christians to revert to the regulations, rituals, and restrictions of the Law. They told the Galatian Christians that Jesus Christ was all well and swell, but He wasn’t enough. They insisted Christians must also be circumcised, follow religious ceremonies, observe all Jewish holidays, eat only Kosher food, and obey the rabbinical code, because faith in Christ was simply not enough. In short, Satan and the Judaizers had bewitched the Galatians.
Paul saw these Judaizers everywhere he went. He was plagued with this group of false teachers. The Jewish legalists had bought into the Gospel only half way. They wanted to take Christ as their Messiah, but they also wanted to continue in the heartless, external ritualism of Jewish Law. They taught a mixed breed of Gospel, saying faith in Jesus Christ alone was not sufficient. They claimed that to be saved, one needed Christ plus the Law and works.
The Galatians fell prey to their lies. Paul’s confrontations with these false teachers were more severe in the province of Galatia than anywhere else. Paul encountered them in Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. They followed him everywhere he preached and began to stir up opposition against him, eventually inciting a riot against Paul in Lystra where they stoned him and left him for dead (Acts 14:19).
It is not normal to preach a grace/works hybrid plan of salvation as the Judaizers did. Faith in Jesus Christ alone is sufficient because He is sufficient. Paul’s Judaizers have long since passed from this world, but modern day equivalents are still out there. They, with Satan’s instigation, will try to “bewitch” you and lead you subtly away from the pure grace living that is ours in Jesus Christ. The devil’s intentions are clear (John 10:10). Cling to Jesus Christ and the grace life He offers.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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