Derek Prince - Witchcraft Within The Church
Now we come to the third area of this subject, which is witchcraft or sorcery within the church. And here is an area where some Christians have no idea what is really going on. I want to turn to Galatians chapter 3 and read the first five verses. O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you? Did you ever absorb that fact? They were charismatic Christians, Pentecostal Christians. You'll see, they knew the Lord, they were saved, they had received the Holy Spirit, they were witnessing miracles, but they were bewitched. And this is the standard Greek word for bewitch.
Interestingly enough, it is still used in modern Greek. The word vaskanía is the modern Greek word for the evil eye. I happen to know because a Greek Orthodox priest who has come to know the Lord Jesus came to me some years ago and he said to me, "Pray for me. I want to be delivered from this vaskanía". It is exactly the same word that is used here. All right: O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth that before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? How did Paul know that witchcraft was operating? What was the evidence? Very important! Witchcraft had obscured the revelation they had received of Jesus Christ crucified. That’s the supreme aim of witchcraft in the church is to hide the reality of Jesus Christ crucified.
Now look at the description of what happened in the following verses. This only I want to learn from you. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? Notice they had received the Holy Spirit. Paul says: "How did you receive it? By keeping the law of Moses or by hearing the Gospel with faith"? Are you so foolish having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? I really am inclined to think that text could go up over the entrance of most churches. Are you so foolish having begun in the Holy Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain? If indeed it was in vain. Therefore, He who supplies the Spirit do you notice the Spirit was ministered to them? and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?
So the root problem was the reality of Jesus crucified had been obscured by an evil satanic power that had moved in. And the two problems that resulted were carnality and legalism. They had gone back to fleshly attempts to do the will of God, to please God, to keeping all sorts of rules as a way of achieving righteousness with God. And they had missed the purpose of Christ’s death. And the final result is stated in verse 10. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that does not continue in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them.
In other words, Paul says, If you have gone back to achieve righteousness by keeping the law, remember, you have got to keep the whole law all the time or you are under a curse, because when Israel came into the land of Canaan, one of the first things they had to do was to pronounce a curse upon themselves if they did not keep the whole law all the time. See, keeping a little bit of the law some of the time does not do you any good. If you are going to be justified by keeping the law, you have to keep the whole law all the time. And none of us, in God’s sight, can ever be justified by the works of the law. It is a deception of Satan. It is a deception that appeals primarily to human pride.
As Paul says, Abraham, if he had been justified by works, would have had something to boast of. But not before God, because it says, Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. You see, basically all of us would like to have something to boast of. In some way or other we would like to be a little more righteous than our neighbor. And if we have a set of rules that we are keeping, somehow we can convince ourselves that makes us righteous.
When I was in the British army years ago and came to know the Lord, I became a witness for the Lord and because I lived a life that was so different from my fellow soldiers, lots of them would come up and talk to me and I would tell them, No, I did not get religious, I got saved. And then I would tell them about salvation. You know, the first reaction of almost everyone was that they’d start to give me a little list of the rules they kept. And each one had a list tailored to his own particular life, you understand? In other words, the first reaction of man confronted with God’s demand for righteousness is, I’ll keep a law. I have said many places, and sometimes I’ve shocked Christians: Christianity is not a set of rules. Once we reduce it to that, we have lost the vision of the cross. And we have lost the power of God.