Thursday, January 26, 2017

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900) or on the Cove Presbyterian Church Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Galatians 3:1-14

Image result for faith vs worksYou foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing? — if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, “Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” — in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” Now, that’s what Paul said in this letter, and  I think it’s safe to assume that, when he wrote it, he was responding to something that the Galatians had either said or done that he thought was pretty stupid, you know, something that they really shouldn’t have done because they knew better, not unlike a person quitting a job that he loves to work for one he really doesn’t like and to do it for less money. I mean, that would be foolish. As the song says, such a person may have been bewitched. They certainly should be bothered. And I think everybody they know would probably be bewildered by their decision.

But Paul wasn’t talking about changing job, instead his issue was about changing fundamental beliefs. You see, even though it was contrary to what Paul himself had taught them and what the story of Abraham indicated and what common sense would lead a person to understand, the Galatians had moved obedience over faith. In other words, some thought that obeying the laws was more important than trusting in God. And Paul called that foolish. And I’ll tell you, I think he’d say the same to us, when we decide to ground our relationship with God on what we might do or say rather than on what God has already done. And we have absolutely no reason to be bewitched, bothered or bewildered about that.

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