Paul tells the Galatians, it can happen and quite easily at that. The bewitching is in believing the oldest lie there is. “Yes, surely Jesus died for your sins. His death made you righteous, but you must prove your love to him by doing things that are right. You need to show God why he should keep on loving you.” In fact, God’s love is extended unconditionally to everyone. He loved us when we were enemies.
Bewitching has to do with a core teaching of the basis of our salvation. The Galatians had been seduced by Legalism thinking that they could obtain God’s favor by their own performance. Paul asked them, “Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law by believing what you heard? (Gal. 3:2)
A few verses later, “Does God give you his Spirit to work miracles among you because you observe the law or because you believe what you heard? (Gal. 3:5)
The apostle Paul doesn’t allow for a middle of the road approach. Either you’re saved by grace – what God has already done for you in Christ, or by law – by what you can do to impress God by your behavior. Paul says “no” to law and “yes” to grace.
The bewitching of legalism comes in many forms. Every religion has it. There is a charismatic bewitching in which we are told that we must pray so much, give so much, or study so much in order to obtain a new level of anointing to break through to a miracle.
Studying, praying, and giving are all good, when those activities are carried out because of what Jesus has done. When they are carried out in order to get God to do something, they become legalistic effort. The whole focus becomes an error, when we try to produce enough good to impress God. Bottom line, God is already impressed by what Jesus is done. Rest in him. God’s grace is the only way.
Have you ever been effected by legalism? Are you enjoying God’s grace? What effects have you witnessed in your own life of grace or of legalism? Let me hear from you!
All by grace,