“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” Galatians 3:1
Every Christian should be aware of the power and danger of deception. Paul was greatly disturbed by the fact that the Galatians had been influenced to turn from the truth. He referred to them as “foolish Galatians.” They were unwise, not using discernment, and not walking in wisdom. Paul said they had been “bewitched.” False teachers had deceived them. These believers had been corrupted by error.
Error can have a powerful influence, even upon believers. It is very foolish for God’s people to take error lightly. The pattern that is seen in the churches of Galatia is being repeated today. Paul had been instrumental in winning these people to Christ. His message was salvation by grace, through faith in Christ, with no mixture of works. These people had believed his message and had trusted in the Savior for their salvation. Then along came these false teachers who began to confuse the new converts. These heretics told the Galatian believers that salvation, to be complete, required obedience to the law and works such as circumcision. This is a total corruption of the message of salvation.
This is precisely the way modern heretics bewitch others. They do not concentrate on winning others to Christ. For one thing, they do not have the truth. Their strategy is to prey on those who have been won to Christ and try to bewitch them with heresy. Because false teachers have the appearance of believers, because they teach from the Bible, because they claim to be saved – their danger is not readily seen.
To avoid the bewitching power of false doctrine, God’s people must take the Bible seriously and make it the final authority for faith and practice. Bewitching doctrine can be detected by comparing it to the Word of God. So many are being bewitched today because they believe some powerful or persuasive personality, or accept some traditions of men, when there is no Bible to base that teaching upon. Christians need to make sure they are growing in Christ and judging what they hear by the Word of God. As we study and rightly divide the Scripture, we will see that many false teachings, even those that are quite popular and well accepted, are not found in the Bible.