When Paul asked the Galatians “Who has bewitched you?,” he used a word not used any other time in Scripture.
The word he used tells us so much about why we so easily set aside the grace of God.
Gal 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
The word Paul chose under inspiration of the Holy Spirit was baskaino. The primary meaning of this Greek word is not bewitch but to malign or to speak ill of one.
STRONG’S: to malign, that is, (by extension) to fascinate (by false representations): – bewitch. THAYER: 1) to speak ill of one, to slander, traduce him 2) to bring evil on one by feigning praise or an evil eye 3) to charm, to bewitch Part of Speech: verb
Paul clearly portrayed Jesus Christ among you as crucified
The Apostle who received his gospel from Jesus directly in the spirit always preached Christ crucified.
And he asks the question of the Galatians “who has maligned you? Who has slandered you? Who has spoken ill of you? Who has misrepresented you?”
Someone had been whispering slander in their minds changing their inner view of themselves CONTRARY to what Paul had been teaching them was their true condition in Christ.
They had had ‘Christ crucified’ preached to them so that what happened to Christ in his death, burial and resurrection was before their eyes..their inner seeing.
They had seen how when Jesus died, they died…
when Jesus was buried they were buried…
when Jesus rose from death they too arose in Him!!
It was before their eyes.
They had been given a good view of themselves in the risen Jesus.
But now something has caused them to have an evil eye towards themselves.
They had been shown by Paul that there was no darkness in them now that they are new creations…but through some ill words they now see darkness in themselves and are moved to do something extra than mere trust in Christ.
Paul had just explained so amazingly the truth of the Cross which has been applied to all who believe.
In Galatians 2:20 he told them/us that:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live”
Your old man died with Christ on the cross, it is your reality, your condition. Believe it is so.
“Nevertheless you live…. yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:”
You live but not I..it is a new I that lives…it is Christ who lives as you..a new creature before God. Believe it is so.
“and the life which I now live in the flesh”: This new I that you are, is Christ Jesus living in your mortal body.
“I live by the faith of the Son of God,”: The new creation that you are with Jesus, lives ONLY by HIS FAITH….not by you trying to believe…but by Jesus’ own faith.
Most versions say “faith in the Son of God”. That is incorrect and unbelief.
We can rest in Jesus because it is Him carrying us….even as we carry Him in our body. We know we have no faith of our own (as if we are separate from Him)….it is His faith in God which sustains us and carries us every day in every situation.
“who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Jesus gave Himself to you …to be your very own self.
The word “gave” is amazing – it means:
1)to give into the hands (of another)
2) to give over into (one’s) power or use
2a) to deliver to one something to keep, use, take care of, manage Jesus gave you his self…
That is..the story that Jesus tells Himself about Himself…He gave this to you. All that He is in the Father is yours and mine to keep and use. This is so incredible it is difficult to believe when all our life we thought everything was up to us. Then after this amazing telling of truth –telling them who they are- Paul says…
Gal 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
Righteousness does not come to us through trying to obey God. Righteousness as Paul explains everywhere is a free gift which comes through having Jesus Christ in us. Christ died so that He could live in us –as us–with us…and that NEW US–IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM.
Always righteous….always holy..always pleasing to God…for Christ is our very life source and he is always in Father pleasing Him. Thus we are always in Father pleasing Him..for Jesus and I are one. This is Christ crucified. This is what Paul laboured to preach and to inculcate into every man.
Col 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Col 1:28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Col 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
“Him we preach.” Who? Christ in you the hope of glory.
Why Paul? Because the only way a believer is found perfect is to know that is it Christ in them living as them…who is pleasing and perfect to God.
Anyone who thinks himself to be something when he is NOTHING deceives himself.
Paul laboured to change the way people saw themselves. He pressed into God to preach Christ as our only life..Christ as all things in us so that the churches walked in the knowledge of Christ in all things.
This is where the power and fruit is produced….out from the exchange that has happened in us at the cross.
As the prophet said -Not by might nor by power but by My spirit says the Lord.
Yet something had happened to these Galatians who had had Christ formed in their thinking and in their hearts.
They had received a malignant word or thought about themselves which caused them to set aside the truth of their being in Christ. This malignancy prevented them from obeying(believing) the truth.
Gal 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched(maligned, spoken ill of, misrepresented) you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
Whatever was told them caused them to see themselves as separate from Christ again. They could no longer see themselves in Christ as new creatures with Jesus Himself as their life.
Now they were back to trying to please God by their own efforts at law keeping.
If I go around saying that it is Christ in me that pleases the Father…or…I please God just the way I am….do you realise that that infuriates the Devil?….it infuriates religious spirits too.
They know that if you remain in Christ and come to abide in such a message of the cross that you are Christ in the earth. Therefore they must GET YOU TO come out of that position and truth.
They will malign you, speak evil of you, point out your failures, your inabilities and call it sin. They will try to get you to put your eyes upon your old self and make that old self “alive” again.
They want you to identify yourself with that old man who was crucified and buried. They do this through accusations in your mind. Not only through accusations aimed at your inabilities but also through feigned praise.
Baskaino carries that meaning as well. Who has baskainoed you…That is, who has been flattering you saying that you are such a good Christian…such a gifted teacher, such a holy wife…such a pure young lady in God. These flattering thoughts come to get us to focus on the old self which always wants to take the credit and be in control of doing the good stuff for God.
So today we have most of the church thinking like this.
The thinking goes like this: “I got born again by grace…but now I MUST LIVE RIGHT IN ORDER TO BE PLEASING TO GOD.”
If we think like that…then we set aside the grace of God and place ourselves(only in our minds)outside of Christ and Christ outside of us.
Then His death was in vain for us for now we are trying to be made righteous by our own efforts.
I have often said that “if not for the Accuser of the brethren most churches would be empty.” Most Christians are driven on in all that they do by the fear of not doing anything for God.
When my wife and I left the church we went through severe withdrawals. The toxins of religion take a long time to be expunged from our hearts and minds. Paul chided the Galatians and said he must “labour again until Christ be formed in you.”
Gal 4:19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,
Again Paul refers to having Jesus before their eyes…the only one they see.
The accuser will malign and say “But you have to do this to please God…and that is not pleasing to God….you must keep the Sabbath…..you must love people more….you must …you must…you must!!”
Tell yourself: “I AM at rest in Christ, I AM trusting FULLY IN CHRIST to be pleasing to God!
We get saved by His doing. He draws us to Himself. He grants repentance and faith. He comes to live in us to be the one who lives as us. It is His faith that carries us. And in the end we know where we are going for He has us completely in Himself. Doubt only comes when we think it is up to us in any way to perform well enough for God to grant us entry. Jesus is enough!!