Friday, July 7, 2017
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth” (Gal. 3:1). They believed “in” Christ but in partial truth did not wholly “believe” Christ. The Dictionary says that to be bewitched is “to cause someone to be enchanted; cast a spell over someone”. Spiritual bewitching did not end with the Apostle Paul’s rebuke, but is at work yet today.
How? By deception. “And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth…that they might bring us into bondage)” (Gal. 2:4). Satan deceives people of whole truth through revered but “false brethren” in the church. And those “false brethren” were, then, and are yet today revered and trusted. But why? Because they had and yet have credentials.
Those “false brethren” were academics with influence, they were religious “experts” in the law, equal to academically credentialed and influential PhD’s, D. Th.’s, D.D.’s and BS degrees today. And many Christians today are more impressed with letters after one’s name than with Christ.
Understand, that, in the organized church academic religious credentials often carry more authority than Christ. Many church goers are bewitched today by pastors and theologians who are “experts” on select tradition(s) of men that make God’s Word “of no effect” (Mark 7:13).
“false brethren” teach partial truth by avoiding select truths that disagree with traditions of men. Remember, Satan is the master deceiver by partial truths. Today, “false brethren” teach a partial truth of the resurrection rapture, but not “at the last day” (John 6:40) nor “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31); they teach that saints are resurrected from the dead and raptured before the tribulation in direct opposition to what Jesus taught, and the majority believe them!
Religious “experts” make God’s Word of no effect regarding truths they want concealed. They say “this no longer applies”, or “that isn’t what ‘that’ means”, or, “Jesus wasn’t talking to the church when He said ‘that’” They destroy “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). They make God’s Word difficult thus causing people to trust their teachings. Where is our Paul!
Another example: God clearly commanded, that, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:12–14). Yet, just take a look around your church and note the number of women pastors, deacons and teachers!
Today, we have no Apostle Paul to rebuke and correct religious academics who teach contrary to God’s Word, who often judge and justify themselves by themselves. The average Christian is thus largely left to himself to discover the whole truth, absent tradition(s) and alone with God.
Understand too, the church at Galatia had everything we have – the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. It’s not as if they were ignorant of one or the other. Know too that the proud controlling nature of “false brethren” has not changed in two-thousand years, but neither has God in Christ changed His mind or His Word or His commands for the church in these two-thousand years.
Marlin J. Yoder