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The Evil Curse Of Unbelief

Galatians 3:1-3
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? (NIVUK)

Some in the Galatian church had believed a lie.  False teachers had told them that they could not be in God’s favour unless they were religiously pious and kept the Jewish law.  That was untrue.  Even Jesus welcomed criminals and immoral people … and as they believed Him, they were welcomed into His kingdom (Luke 15:1-2).
But the Galatians had gone backwards.  They were again relying on their self-righteousness, but it operated as an evil curse.  Having believed the lies, preached by false teachers, they were back to living in the dark because they had rejected the light.  It was as though they were being controlled by some evil being.  They knew that Jesus, who was dead, rose to life again.  There were enough eyewitnesses to confirm the evidence (1 Corinthians 15:3-9).  They had known something of the Holy Spirit’s power in their lives which they had never experienced before.  But the old way of legalism never produced the liberty in the Spirit.  It was as though the powers of evil were trying to rob God’s people of their peace and joy.  And they were!

Paul asked the question, “… did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?”   The new life-transforming presence of God was due to the Holy Spirit who is given to all who believe in Jesus.  That closeness of relationship was never possible by self-righteous religious rituals.  The Apostle Paul knew it himself – when he welcomed Jesus, the old life of religious striving had to go (Galatians 2:20).         
Satan delights in stealing the blessings of God from Christians.  And yet, so many who have begun their walk with Jesus joyfully are sucked back into religious legalism. False teachers abound. Our own flesh still makes us want to be spiritually self-sufficient. But the truth is that we are either totally dependent on the grace of Christ alone, or we have no purpose in this world nor hope of heaven to come.  Do not let the Evil One manipulate you into thinking that you can be holy by trying hard and that you don’t need Jesus. You do need Him for everything, and without Him you can do nothing of eternal value (John 15:5)!

Dear Lord God. Thank You for saving me, not because of the good things I do but because I am trusting in Jesus alone to remove all my sin and give me a new start every day. Forgive me when I think that I can earn Your favour. Help me to resist false teachers, friends and even my own fleshly nature as Satan accuses me and urges me to despair of my sin and try to help myself. I know that only Your grace can save me. Please bring me back to that simple faith. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams