OH FOOLISH (fill in the blank), WHO HAS BEWITCHED YOU?”
This comes from Paul's letter to the Galatians who Paul was trying to awaken from a spell of salvation by works that had been cast over them.
After telling the Galatians in ch.1 that whoever would bring them a gospel that was a perversion of the gospel Paul had already preached to them is accursed. And in ch.2 telling them that justification, which is righteousness, only comes "by the faith of Christ" and not by works of the law. Paul asks them in ch.3, "who has bewitched you?... This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?.... Having begun in the spirit are you now made perfect by the flesh?"
This is Paul's message of shaking throughout this letter. The message that justification which is righteousness does not come by any works of the law. But, only "by the faith of Christ."
Paul called them foolish for having allowed this to happen to them. But, he didn't ask who has fooled you. And he didn't ask who has tricked or deceived you. He asked who has bewitched you.
He chose this word using it only once in all of his epistles because Paul could see that, like those we see today that have taken the c-shot who behave like someone who is under a spell or in a trance, they too could neither see nor hear the truth about their condition without being shaken from it somehow.
This question from the apostle is aimed at doing just that. Like a hypnotist or a charmer that snaps his fingers to bring the person out of their trance. In this case to awake from a trance that has caused them to oppose grace in the most egregious way, while at the same time believing they are in God's grace.
This was a problem for people then. And obviously remains a problem for people today. Because most people who call themselves believers in Jesus and the grace of God would also agree that they must keep the law. Even though most would be quick to tell you that they are not under the law.
But, this is a difference without a distinction. Because like the Israelite who was under the law, these also believe that their blessings and cursings are based on their law keeping, just as Israel under the law did. This is why Paul said these had been bewitched in putting themselves under the law just as Israel was in the Old Testament.
So as Paul asked the Galatians, he would ask these today, "who has bewitched you?" This is a stronger statement than some may think regarding the state those are in who have come to such a conclusion.
The word bewitched is baskaino in Greek, and means to exercise evil power over someone, like putting them under a spell, and to captivate. This is what making the law part of ones christianity does to those who practice their so called faith in such a way.
Captive is a word Paul uses to describe those who doctrinally oppose themselves. Captive to the devil Paul says. Captive because they have been deceived by satan to believe on the one hand that works are the means for salvation. While on the other hand believing they are saved by grace. This is why in 2Tim.2:25,26 Paul says that they "oppose themselves".
This opposition within themselves, also known as cognitive dissonance, comes from a belief that grace means that since it was Jesus rather than themselves who measured up to the perfect standard of the law in their place. And that it is His works imputed to them, not theirs, that makes them righteous. This perversion of Paul's salvation message is ok because they are bewitched to think this is what Paul meant when He said we are saved by grace.
And let me just say that this is also a common feature in the doctrine of original sin, which is really just a kind of Judaism for Gentiles with it's anathema of salvation by works, that too shows this bewitching aspect Paul describes in this letter to the Galatians.
Though it is to the contrary that we see Paul telling these same people in Galatia in ch.2:16 that it is "by the faith of Christ, and not by His works, that men are justified." Showing clearly that the spell Paul said they were under was their confusion about grace and works that caused them to oppose themselves. Telling them in the hope that this shaking would awaken them from the spell.
So when a person comes to mix grace and works Paul says they are literally bewitched. Taken captive by the devil at his will. And they must be shaken from the spell they are under. Shaken with the truth from God's word that it is "by the faith of Christ that they are justified. And not by the works of the law."
Showing them that what has happened to them is the result of being taken captive to satan at his will. A captivity that happens when instead of believing Paul's plain teaching about grace for salvation, they allow a spell to be cast over them to receive the preaching of law keeping that is anathema to Paul's gospel.
Captive because this preaching mixes the law with grace. And changes the definition of grace to a perversion of the grace Paul taught. A kind of grace defined as Jesus' perfect law keeping in our place so the righteousness that comes through the law can then be imputed to us to make us acceptable to God. A perversion Paul said amounts to "dung" and "loss compared to knowing Jesus."
This preaching defines Jesus' statement on the cross when He said "It is finished" to mean the penalty for sin has been paid in full. These teachings are anathema to Paul's gospel. And as Paul said in Gal.1 will damn to hell all who are taken under this spell.
Because by this they have made grace works and works grace. Making it necessary to be saved by works when it's Jesus who did them. Even though in Rom.11:5,6 Paul said grace is not grace if it's by works. And that works is not works if it's by grace. Making the two mutually exclusive.
Grace for eternal life is God's love in action expressed when Jesus came as a man to join with us in our mortality.
Giving Himself over as an offering to die with us so that by His resurrection He could conquer our mortality for us. So that when we believe in Him and His resurrection, not in His works of the law, we are freely given the gift of immortality and eternal life that Jesus came to provide for us.
There was never any penalty that had to be paid for us to receive God's gift of eternal life. And we never needed anyone to be punished in our place. Jesus showed us this in Mt.18 when He told Israel the parable of the king that took account of his servants.
The king forgave them their debt without anyone having to pay it in their place. So the often used "vicarious penal substitutionary death of Christ" label used by so many to define the atonement, which is really libelous to the truth of the atonement, as an explanation for why Jesus had to die must be rejected.
This is why Jesus said in Heb.10 "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not. But a body thou hast prepared for me." God did not need sacrifice and offering of animals and birds as payment for a penalty for sin. He needed the offering of Jesus' body to bring the Old Testament to a close.
Because a final once for all sacrifice that fulfilled every requirement of that Testament was all that was needed to finish it. So that the Old Testament could pass away just as Jesus said in Mt.5:17,18.
So God prepared a mortal body for Jesus for the suffering of death to be the ransom price needed as an exchange for the new immortal body. An exchange, not a penalty to be paid. An offering, not a punishment required to appease God's wrath. Appeasement of wrath is the religion of Moloch and Baal.
The idea of penalty and wrath the bewitched have inserted here are tools of satan meant to bewitch you so that you will also fall under his spell. To be held captive to his lies. So that you never receive the gift of eternal life that can be yours only by the faith of Christ, and not by any works of the law.
The atonement for sin is an exchange of Jesus' mortal body for the immortal body He received in His ascension. It is because of this that it is now possible for us to exchange our mortal bodies for the immortal ones 1Cor.2:9 says Jesus has "prepared for those that love Him."
To receive the promise that all those who died in faith in the Old Testament Heb.11 says they did not receive. Because they being only natural and not spiritual could only receive this promise after Jesus rose from the dead.
This offering is God's grace. Which is His love in action freely given to us that shows us what grace is. This is the sum total of God's purpose in the atonement.
So if you have been bewitched and placed under a spell and taken captive by the devil at his will as these Galatians were. And made to think that law keeping was necessary for you to be saved. Then may this message be the shaking you need to be awakened and freed from that spell by the truth of God's love for you.
Hear His call and "come out of her" as rev.18:4 says you must so that you will not be made to partake in her sins and plagues. Her destruction has already begun as Rev.17 clearly shows. Don't let yourself be destroyed with her.
Confess Jesus is your Lord so He can lead you in a new direction. In the truth of God's saving grace. And believe in your heart that He has raised from the dead so that you can receive His immortality. Do this and you will have eternal life.
Do this... and I will see you there or in the air!
This message can also be heard at: https://rumble.com/v195njv-oh-foolish-fill-in-the-blank-who-has-bewitched-you.html
I hope this message gets through to as many as read or hear it. There is nothing Paul preached that is more important for the salvation of mankind. And especially the turning of the so called “church” from the false righteousness of works to the righteousness of faith that alone can save them.