October 24, 2016
Only a week until our society celebrates Halloween! Ghouls, ghosts, superheroes and more will walk our streets, knock on doors, and say, “Trick or Treat!” Historically, on the night of the dead (night before All Saints Day – Nov 1) the Celtics once believed that ghosts/spirits would come to your home and steal a chicken or calf or spoil your milk if you didn’t provide a treat for them. Thus, items of food would be left on the front porch to appease the spirits who might come. We will ‘trick’ you if you don’t give us a ‘treat’. Trick or treat!
OK, so most of us don’t let ourselves think like that. We aren’t easily swayed by such silliness in this world. We aren’t tricked into thinking something false…are we?
The Galatians were, as St. Paul says, “bewitched” (v. 1 NIV) He called them “foolish” for they saw Jesus, clearly portrayed as the savior of the world, who’s sacrifice paid the price for all sin. But now, the Judaizers, have influenced the Galatian Christians to think that they could actually add to what Jesus has done. They had become foolish and bewitched into thinking they could add their own pietism and good works to the gospel message. St. Paul emphatically seeks to redirect these Christians to the truth of Christ and life in the Spirit.
Here on out, St. Paul refers to the Holy Spirit some 16 times. That’s a lot in just a few chapters! This repetition infers the importance of recognizing God’s work for us, not our attempts at good works for Him. By referring to Abraham (v. 6) St. Paul reminds me that Abraham was righteous because he believed God. Actions follow belief, but it is the Holy Spirit that works in both Salvation (our eternal life) as well as Sanctification (our daily living). Life outside the Spirit is life under the Law. And life under the Law is life under a curse (v. 10).
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (v. 13). This was so that we could have life. To be free from the curse of the law, free from death, free from sin’s consequence and eternal damnation. What great relief it brings me to think that my soul will not be lost from God’s peace and power, but instead, live forever because He has made it so. Although the world may try to deceive me into believing something else, I know the Holy Spirit will keep me in the faith to trust in Him above all things. And that ain’t no trick . . . but it sure is a treat!
PRAYER: Father in heaven, continue to pour out the Holy Spirit amongst us, little ghouls and goblins in this world, for we need Your forgiveness and Spirit to live for You each day. Let us not be deceived, bewitched, tricked into thinking that there is some old testament law that we need to do to earn Your favor. Help us simply and wholly rest in Your promise of love and grace found in Jesus as You live in us, not to live selfishly or sinfully for ourselves, but to live by faith in You.