In this next blog, I want to expose another tactic of the enemy that he uses to kill, steal, and destroy. This is the bewitching spirit.
We hear about this spirit in the book of Galatians. Paul asks these new converts in Galatia, ‘who has bewitched you?”
Before we get into this demonic culprit, let’s do some background context.
Galatia was a major region of north-central Turkey. The name Galatia came from the Gaul inhabitants who settled in the region in 278 B.C. The Gauls were a Celtic people who invaded Greece in the 3rd century B.C. Two centuries later, in 25 B.C., the area became a Roman province.
Paul’s missionary work resulted in the conversion of some of these Galatians (Gauls)from polytheistic paganism.
The Judaizers Paul refers to were both ethnic Jews and Gentile converts, who continued to observe Jewish customs and laws. These sought to persuade Christians that one had to adhere to Jewish customs and laws to be saved.
Not only did these Judaizers bring in their religious practices to mix with Christianity, but they also brought in their elitist attitude. In other words, they thought their ways were better than the gospel of grace given by the Holy Spirit. Better than God’s method for salvation, which is grace through faith in Jesus Christ APART FROM works or deeds of the law.
For by grace, you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8,9
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5
In the book of Galatians, Paul addresses the problem of adding works to salvation. He exposes these false teachers. Warning against adding anything cultural or social to the gospel for justification before God.
How does he do this? By asking them a question, ‘Who has bewitched you?”
This is significant. Paul is making a correlation here between witchcraft and adding works to the gospel. To understand precisely what he is talking about, we must know what witchcraft is!
While it is true that blatant practitioners of the dark side use witchcraft, it is also true that witchcraft is used by regular people and carnal Christians. That might be a new concept to some of you reading this blog, but if you understand witchcraft, you will know what I mean.
The Bible defines witchcraft as a work of the flesh. That means it is a sinful behavior not necessarily equated with blatant sorcery, although it can be.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
Witchcraft, according to the scriptures, is a work of the flesh. Paul tells the Galatians that they are being bewitched by the Judaizers because they are being removed from the true gospel of grace into another false or perverted gospel. (Galatians 1:6)
Paul says that even if an angel came down from heaven and preached another gospel to them, don’t believe it! Paul tells the Galatians that he received the gospel of Jesus Christ through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, not from men. He said those who preach a false gospel will be eternally cursed or lost. (Galatians 1:7-9)
I would like to point out that the scriptures tell us that adding works of the law to our salvation is a false gospel.
Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Romans 3:28
While most Christians don’t adhere to Jewish customs and laws, some may still add works of the law to their salvation. To understand this fully, we must define what ‘law’ is.
According to Hugh Evander Willis, Indiana university of law, the definition of law (which I will paraphrase) is a rule of action prescribed by some superior that the inferior is bound to obey. Civil law he defined as “a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in a state, commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong. These have two main concepts: (1) the concept of a “superior” and (2) the concept of command. The law according to Hugh Evander Willis is a scheme of social control.
The law of God was given by Moses for much the same thing. For social control of the sinful nature through rules and regulations to have a society operating justly. Since this was not a perfect system, God also set up animal sacrifices as temporal atonement for the sins of the people.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterward be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Galatians 3: 23-25
Falling from grace is when the law is added to salvation as a justification rather than faith in Jesus Christ alone.
This brings us to the thief culprit. The bewitcher who operates in witchcraft.
To bewitch means to attract or interest someone by manipulating them through influence in order to have power and control over them. That’s the definition of ‘bewitching’ in a nutshell.
This is a method used by many in the church to control others. Witchcraft is a carnal act. It is a sin.
To manipulate in order to control another person for our own benefit or to keep them under our thumb in any way is to practice witchcraft. Whether a bully club or a honey pot is used to do it, does not matter!
Formal witchcraft uses these methods! According to the formal operation of witchcraft, Elemental magic or Elemental manipulation is a craft using demonic influence to control. Whether it’s to control the natural elements or a person or persons.
In much the same way, people not formally practicing witchcraft are, in fact, witchcraft practitioners if they are using manipulation to control another person(s).
The term witchcraft comes from Old English wiccecraeft. Wicca (masculine) or wicce (feminine). It denotes one who practices sorcery or charming. That’s where we get the word, charm from. (the power or attribute of delighting or arousing admiration.)
The bewitcher had developed the art or skill of manipulation, charm, indoctrination, groupthink, mind control, and enchantment over others through manipulation.
Paul calls this art of witchcraft a work of the flesh. In other words, it is a sin in which carnal Christians participate. To manipulate or control through artful means for one’s advantage at the detriment of another is the art of witchcraft.
Using control through condemnation, guilt, intimidation, fear, charm, or other manipulative means is practicing witchcraft. To bewitch is to charm through deceit in order to sway a person’s thinking.
The Judaizers were adding Jewish customs and practices to the gospel of Jesus Christ to control others. Paul says Gentiles DO NOT have to observe Jewish holidays or cultural practices to be saved. (Romans 2:12-29)
However, other forms of social control are used in the church to control others. When someone, even preachers influence by the flesh in order to get someone to do something they want rather than allowing Holy Spirit to do his job, (which is to teach, counsel, draw, influence, and control), then they are operating in a spirit of witchcraft.
Does that mean that God does not use people? No, it does not. God uses people to administer his gifts, but the Holy Spirit is the controller of another person, period! The teacher or preacher’s job is to instruct in scriptures, then leave the rest to God. Using scriptures out of context to manipulate, dominate, and control other people is a sin. It does not matter, even if it’s for a good cause!
How can you know if you are being bewitched? By the fruit that results in your life!
Bewitching through manipulation, domination and control causes condemnation, guilt, an inferiority complex, feeling not good enough, you don’t measure up, powerlessness, defeatism, fear, and other negative emotions. There is a difference between Holy Spirit conviction and condemnation.
Holy Spirit convicts through love. He tells you your problem then gives you a solution, like a Father correcting his child. He does not use a big stick to tell you to measure up or else!
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. James 3:17-18
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1,2
Spiritual abusers use witchcraft to manipulate, dominate and control others. They tell you that if you do not adhere to such and such, then you are not good enough. They give you guilt trips and condemnation in order to make a person feel inferior. It’s their craft! A form of control. Some even use honey sticks. ‘If you do this, we will do that for you’!
Let me give you some examples.
When I was a young Christian, I began attending this church. Lo and behold, I found myself in the middle of a split! One side wanted to do things one way, and the other side wanted to do things another way. I hardly knew anybody because I was new to the congregation. As it turns out, the leader of one side wanted to secure my vote. (Why I could vote anyway was beyond me) This leader told me that if I voted for their side, I would be given my own bible study. I didn’t have to be a mature believer to know that was wrong, so I found another church, getting out of that mess!
If you have been saved as long as I have, you probably remember the days of the prosperity preachers. Today some still do the same practices. In those days, preachers would use all kinds of ways or gimics to get your money! Manipulation was rampant! Thank God I stayed out of that stuff! The Bible clarifies that giving to the Lord is a free-will offering that should be delivered from a cheerful heart, not because of necessity or because you have to or don’t measure up.
God does not need our money. He owns cattle on a thousand hills. The scriptures tell us how to give and how to receive. Each is to be led by the Lord in their giving. Using manipulative methods to get someone’s money is a form of witchcraft.
Offering special privileges if you do something is a form of witchcraft. Brow beating from the pulpit by using scriptures taken out of context to make one feel inferior or manipulate them to perform something is witchcraft.
Playing someone through manipulation to do something or buy something is witchcraft. Jesus said to let our conversation be yes or no. In other words be straight up! Many marketing methods used by Christians today are witchcraft. They use misleading click bate, sensationalism, and downright deception for gain. A good product will sell based on its worth. Just tell the truth about what you are offering! Then leave the rest to the Lord.
One last example (there are others) is the use of condemnation. This is also rampant in the church. To make disciples for themselves, some teachers, preachers, and church leaders bewitch others to see themselves always in perpetual need. Constantly feeding spiritual baby food, keeping the people ignorant, constantly having prayer lines, constant inferiority blasted at the sheep from the pulpits. It’s just horrible.
Jesus said…go and make disciples for him, not for yourself! The teaching ministry exists to train, instruct in righteousness, and mature God’s sheep, so they don’t need your services anymore! Making disciples means letting the sheep go when it’s time. Letting go when they are ready, when they get itchy feet to leave home. Helping the lambs mature so they can go out and do the work of the ministry! You wouldn’t let your young adult son or daughter stay home forever, would you? It is the same with sheep or those we mentor or disciple. The objective is to train them in the ways of the Lord then let them go!
Paul gives a remedy for the Galatians who have been bewitched. He tells them that they have been justified and made righteous before God by faith in Jesus Christ without the deeds of the law.
To be justified means that a person has a reasonable and acceptable basis for something. In common law, this is a type of defense. This defense exempts the defendant from liability because the defendant’s actions were justified.
In other words, the defendant will not suffer the usual penalty for their actions in a court of law because they had a valid justification. The defendant could not have been asked to act any differently in this situation. (Cornell law school legal information institute)
It is the same with God’s law. The shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ is our justification for the penalty of sin. (Hebrew Chapter 9)
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Romans 3:28
Paul tells the Galatians that he is now dead to the law (It’s an old method) so that he can live for God by faith in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in him!
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Returning to old methods by adding works of any kind for our justification is slavery, according to Paul. Bewitchers want to make slaves to be under their control. (Galatians 4)
Bewitchers want to bring you under their laws, customs and forms. They seek to bind you to a custom, practice, or rule of conduct in order to control you! Witchcraft is the manipulation of the flesh. It is a skillful art used by bewitchers to control others.
God’s Holy Spirit brings the fruit of righteousness; Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against this fruit, there is NO LAW! (Galatians 5:22-23)
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