Galatians 4:8-9 – Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
When our kids were little, we took them to a fair to enjoy the animals and the rides. Everything was going fine, until suddenly I looked at our little group of five kids and noticed a sixth kid! A child who was not with our family for some reason wandered away from their family and started walking with our family. Frantic to find the parents, I stooped down to ask the kid their name and told them they had wandered from their family but that we would get them reunited.
Something similar happened in a network of churches across ancient Galatia. People were born again as new Christians, but they wandered from their church family and started following law-based, high-control religious leaders. So, Paul took the role of dad and helped them find their way home.
As a Christian, you cannot lose your salvation. But you can lose your way.
Curiously, Paul says that the Christians were following the “false brothers” (2:4). Making matters much worse, the false brothers were following “gods”. The Bible is clear that there is only one God, but that there are other powerful spirit beings who try to counterfeit God as false gods. The Ten Commandments begin, “You shall have no other gods before me…You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.”
The gods are powerful but created and finite spiritual beings who have revolted against the Lord and have become corrupt, trying to establish their own power base in religions and nations. When the Bible speaks of the “world”, it is referring to the combining of spirituality, politics, sexuality, and morality into a unified system that is a demonic counterfeit to the Kingdom of God.
In various religions and spiritual groups, demons fulfill dreams, heal sickness, lift torment, and answer prayers. Sometimes people are so desperate that they do not much care who or where their answer comes from. This leaves people vulnerable to making deals with the devil, largely unaware. Unfortunately, these are all counterfeits from the kingdom of darkness to invite the demonic into your life. The Bible warns us of a tremendous demonic deception at the end of history as Satan and demons make their final push to defeat God and His angels on the earth to avenge the war they lost in heaven.
Anytime something spiritual happens, even if it seems good (like a healing, miracle, angel, or answer to prayer), we cannot overlook the possibility of demonic deception.
Are you aware of any demonic deception in your life that came in through bad teaching, unhealthy relationships, or involvement in other religious and spiritual practices outside of biblical Christianity?