What exactly is a curse? Can a Christian today find themselves in the same place as the early church? Paul has something to confront the Galatians about and now they must be ready for an awakening.
10. For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them." 11. Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "The righteous man shall live by faith." 12. However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, "He who practices them shall live by them." 13. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us."...
When you have a moment, go back to Galatians Chapter 3 and read the start of this chapter. Paul asks the Galatian Christians, who has "bewitched" them. Pretty strong accusations for Paul to hand out. What would we say today if someone came to speak at our church and stood at the podium and asked us that particular question? I would imagine we'd be pretty indignant and irritated. Can you imagine the gasps, denials, and finger pointing? Yet, that's just what Paul did. He stood up and asked a pointed question of the Galatian church.
Lets look at two words here in the Greek that give us an indication of the seriousness of his topic.
The word "bewitched" in the Greek is "baskaino" which means "to charm, to bring evil upon", and the Oxford Dictionary gives the following: "to enchant, delight, cast a spell on, charm, fascinate, beguile" (with words)
The word "cursed" found in verses 10 and 13 "epikataratos" means "doomed, and to bring evil upon". The Oxford Dictionary gives these: "something that causes evil or harm, denunciation, misfortune, affliction, damned."
So we can see from looking at these words that Paul uses, that he was totally serious in his accusations. Life or death, blessings or curses... we hear this topic throughout the Old and New Testament. When we studied Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, back in February, we find that Adam and Eve's sin caused them to be evicted from the Garden of Eden and they were subject to living under "the curse". (read Genesis Chapter 3). Then again in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 28, we see again how "curses" can come upon us.
Now, I want to explain this thought about curses in a way that I feel the Lord has shown me. Don't think of this as God's maliciousness or ill will toward you or anyone else. Think of us individually walking with Jesus and he is holding an umbrella. It is pouring rain and hailing. Now, because of a personal decision, someone chooses to leave Jesus' side and walk out from under that umbrella of "blessing" and protection. Think "free will".
This is where we leave the "blessing" and walk "under the curse". I'm not saying that anytime anything bad happens that we have sinned or chosen to walk away from Jesus. We live in a world where "things happen", and I'm living proof of that. I didn't choose to have cardiovascular problems or heart attacks. Someone doesn't have cancer because they are "sinning". People don't die young because they have walked away from Jesus. I'm talking about a mindset that lures us away from the Word of God, prayer, and intimacy with our Father. When someone chooses to leave Jesus, and His way of thinking and doing things, He allows us, but we walk out from under that umbrella of blessing, and basically are on our own.
Hope you all understand what I'm saying here. This is what happened to the Galatians. Paul was fearful for them, because the Judiazers had "bewitched" them with their words. They had convinced and confused the new Christians at Galatia, and in their fear, they reverted back to the Old Testament Law, of rules, regulations and never being "good enough" to find salvation.
There are a lot of ideas, concepts, and theories out there that can subtly lure us away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It doesn't have to particularly be this idea of "the law". The "New Age" doctrines can sound surprisingly close to scripture. This is why it's so important to know God's Word and be in it daily. This allows the Holy Spirit to speak to us and warn us when something isn't quite right. Beware being bewitched with false doctrines. If you have questions, don't be afraid to ask God about them. He will lead you into the truth. That's part of his "job description".
So, back to our scripture in Galatians; don't let anyone or anything try to drag you back "under the Law". The Law was given to the Israelites to be a "guideline", but not for salvation. It has always been a matter of "faith". God's grace is the key to salvation, not living by rules and regulations.
Thank you, Jesus!!
Next time we'll talk about Abraham, and why he is considered to be not only the Jew's spiritual father, but as Christians, ours also.
Thank you all so much for your prayers for my family as we celebrated the life of my father in law, and rejoiced at his "home going".
love, in Jesus,