Derek Prince - His Death Put An End To The Law
So, let’s go on now to Romans chapter 10, verse 4. Romans 10:4: For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one who believes. So if you’ve become a believer in Jesus Christ it’s the end of the law. Not the end of the law in every sense but the end of the law for righteousness. As a means to achieve righteousness with God Christ put an end to the law. When He died, that was it. When He rose from the dead He offered us a new way of being righteous with God which was not the keeping of the law. So, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. He’s not the end of the law as a part of the Word of God or, as a part of the history of Israel, or as an example of the way that God deals with people. The law is still there. But as a means to achieve righteousness, the death of Christ on the cross finally put an end to the law.
Now let’s look for a moment at the example of the Galatian Christians. Galatians is an interesting epistle. If you were theologically minded, and I were to ask you, What is the problem that Paul deals with in Galatians? you might answer legalism. That’s the official theological description of this problem. Now, most of the letters that Paul writes to churches, he begins with a glowing thankfulness to God for all the good that’s in them. Even the Corinthian church where there was a man living with his father’s wife, and where there was drunkenness at the Lord’s Table, he begins with a glowing expression of his gratitude to God for God’s grace. But when he deals with the Galatians he’s so, if I may say, hot under the collar that he doesn’t spend any time thanking God for His grace. What was the problem with the Galatians? Not drunkenness, not immorality, but what? Legalism.
Paul viewed that as a much more serious threat to their well-being than immorality or drunkenness. Now please understand I am not saying that God condones immorality or drunkenness. But I’m saying it’s a much easier problem to deal with than legalism, because legalism is so subtle. It appears so good, we feel so right about it, that it’s hard for us to be delivered from it. But this is what Paul says in Galatians 1:6: I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not another, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the Gospel of Christ. See, he didn’t have anything good to say. He just said, I’m amazed you turned away so quickly. Into what? Into legalism, into keeping a set of rules and believing that they could be made righteous by that. And then in Galatians chapter 3 he returns to this theme beginning at verse 1: O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?
I remember years ago reading that verse and suddenly realizing that quote, Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians, could be bewitched because there’s no question that these were Charismatics. It solved a big problem in my mind because it explained to me a situation that had arisen in a church I was pastoring. I won’t go into the details but I saw that my whole congregation had been bewitched by the wife of the previous pastor who had divorced her husband and married one of the Board members and still dominated those people spiritually. So let me just offer this as help to you. If you’re dealing with some problem that you can’t understand it may be it’s this problem. The people you’re dealing with have been bewitched. Paul uses it in a very clear meaning.
Actually, the Greek word for bewitched means to strike with the eye. They’ve been smitten with the eye, they’ve come under the gaze of an eye that bewitches them. I had a Greek Orthodox priest come to me years ago who’d become Charismatic. He came to me for prayer, he said, I’ve been bewitched. Somebody has put the evil eye on me. He was a very sober man and he knew his Bible. I don’t want to spend time on this but I just want to open up to you the fact that this is a possibility. In fact, in some places it’s a probability. Alright: O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified? Paul says, I presented to you the message of the cross. I depicted to you Jesus crucified for our sins.
How can you have been moved away from that to some other basis of righteousness? This only I want to learn from you. Did you receive the Spirit, The Holy Spirit, by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? Were you baptized in the Holy Spirit because you kept a set of rules? Or because you heard the message and received it with faith? Let me ask you that question. Is there anyone here in this particular session who was baptized in the Holy Spirit as a result of keeping a set of rules? The answer is no one. We need to bear that in mind. We were not saved by keeping a set of rules. We didn’t receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit by keeping a set of rules. We received them, as Paul says, by the hearing of faith. We listened with faith to the message we heard, we believed it and we received. And then he says, Are you so foolish having begun in the Spirit, The Holy Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
When it’s put that way it’s stupidity, isn’t it? If you needed the Holy Spirit to start you on the pathway of righteousness how can you ever cease to be dependent on the Holy Spirit? How can you ever rely on your own little set of rules? But you see, this is very real. Paul goes on in the 10th verse: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse, for it is written, Cursed is every one who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. If you’re going to be justified by keeping the law you have to keep the whole law all the time. And if you try to keep the law and do not keep the whole law all the time you come under the curse pronounced on cursed is the one who does not keep the words of this law all the time.
Is it possible for Pentecostal and Charismatic believers to come under a curse? I want to tell you, it’s very possible. In fact, I know it from my own experience. Without going into too many details I was part of a movement in the body of Christ which was initiated by the Holy Spirit, sovereignly, in a work that none of us anticipated. God joined me together with three other preachers, all of whom are fairly well known. It was a sovereign act of God. We began in the Spirit, but we weren’t going one year before we’d ended in the flesh. And the results were disastrous. So, I know this is real. You’re looking at somebody to whom it happened. God, by His grace, got me out of it. I think because I read the Bible and believed it. I saw the situation I was in.
But I want to tell you, my dear brothers and sisters, this is not something from the remote past, this is something that’s still happening today. People who begin in the Spirit and then try to be made perfect by their fleshly nature, come under a curse. I think myself, if I may say so, that a large part of the church is under a curse. Let me give you one other Scripture which is Jeremiah 17, verse 5. Jeremiah 17:5: Thus says the Lord, Cursed is the man who trusts in man, makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. Now, because it says his heart departs from the Lord it’s clear that such a man had a relationship with the Lord. But after he got that relationship he began to trust in man, in himself, and his heart departed from the Lord.
Well, I think that’s happened to the majority of the professing Christian church. I’m not going to give any names, but most of the significant denominations or movements in the church that we know about were brought into being by a sovereign work of the Spirit of God, by the grace of God. They would have never amounted to anything apart from that. But how many of them today are continuing in the grace of God? I would say very few. So they’ve brought themselves under the curse pronounced in Jeremiah 17:5: Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm. Let me illustrate this from a personal experience. Ruth and I decided to sell our house in Jerusalem, and we went to the real estate dealers and they said, It’s a beautiful house, you’ll sell it quickly, this is what it’s worth. For fourteen months it never sold. We couldn’t understand.
But I was at a service in Christ Church, the church we attend in Jerusalem, and the rector there said, I’ve got to pray with a man who needs deliverance from evil spirits. Not all rectors talk like that but this one does. That’s why we like him. So I thought, well I better try and help him. I went along to this session and this man was a missionary from Africa who’d come under a curse, incidentally. I have to tell you without explaining, the curse was pronounced by a black African bishop. He was nearly dying. We ministered and he was delivered from a number of evil spirits and then we began to deal with the whole of his attitude to life. And I said to him, You know, it seems to me you’re really trusting in yourself. You’re not really relying on the grace of God.
I said, As a matter of fact, I’ve had that problem. I never planned to say this, it just came out. I’ve had that problem because in selling our house I’ve been trusting on what I could do. I’ve been relying on myself. Ruth with characteristic frankness said to me, in front of all these people, Then you’re under a curse. I said, That’s right, I am. So I confessed it, repented of it and released myself from the curse. We left that meeting, drove back to the new apartment apartment where we were living and on the ground floor we met a real estate agent who said, I would like to show your house to some customers I have. Within two weeks the house was sold. Do you understand? The moment I was free from the curse God could move on our behalf. I see some of you get the message.