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The Spell of Religion

Michael Beck Michael Beck

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth…” (Galatians 3:1)

A man who is deceived is a man who has been trapped. Even as no animal would knowingly enter a snare, no man purposely seeks to be deceived. This is not to say that man is innocent when deceived. Every hunter knows how to appeal to his prey. He chooses his bait according to his prey’s known cravings. So, a man who has an appetite for unrighteousness can be seduced into a trap of immorality. Those who can be deceived will be deceived.

Religion is a trap every bit as dangerous as the vile pits of the world. In fact, religion is a far more dangerous pit. Men may quickly realize they’re held fast in the mire of some immoral choice, while they may go a whole lifetime without knowing they are chained to a cleverly concocted religious lie. They believe they dwell in the light, when they sit in darkness. Assured that they see, they take it upon themselves to lead others into their way, but they are the blind leading the blind. They deceive because they are deceived. They are trapped, not because they wanted to be, (they don’t believe that they are); they are trapped because they did not love the truth.

Religion is a trap every bit as dangerous as the vile pits of the world. In fact, religion is a far more dangerous pit.

Error brings into bondage; truth sets free. Every system of religion that has not been designed by God Himself is crafted by the Master Hunter of Souls. His substitute worship of God is enticing because it allows man to go on in rebellion and independence from God, while it flatters him with the belief he is piously serving God. The bait is man’s lusts which religion allows man to excuse, justify and cover over with the cloak of religious devotion.

How can God deliver such people from the trap that they are in when they believe they are in nothing of the kind? On the contrary, should anyone advance upon them, to help them extricate themselves, they will snarl and declare that their rescuer is the one who is deceived and in need of rescuing. In such a state, they cannot be reached. There is only one hope for those so entangled. They must begin to love truth – not the truth of men, who come in the name of God, but the truth of God Himself.

The spirit of religion is very possessive. It keeps its adherents in check and in the fold through the manipulation of fear and guilt.

The spirit of religion is very possessive. It keeps its adherents in check and in the fold through the manipulation of fear and guilt. If one is to break free of these he must dare to believe that God will speak to him personally, if he has an ear to listen and a willingness to obey the truth. What is the truth? Jesus Christ is the truth. He leads men who are finally willing and ready to be finished with the sin business into a true relationship with God. He changes their inward appetites to truly love righteousness and hate iniquity, so they no longer are deceived by the lures of sin and do not need a religion to placate God with.

Jesus never did well with the religious. The demon-possessed received deliverance. The simple, uncomplicated masses heard Him gladly. But the religious were then and are today too filled with their own opinions of God to be taught by Him. Religion is designed to obscure the real issues of righteousness, mercy and faith. It allows men to pick and choose what commandments they will keep and what ones they will reject. It supplies men with an appeasement of conscience while they continue avoiding God’s total call on their life. A Jesus that only needs to be believed in, can be accepted; but the Jesus that calls men to wholeheartedly turn from their sin and turn to God, can be ignored or turned into a less demanding figure. No wonder the babe in the manger wins everyone’s approval.

The Bible makes it clear that those who are deceived, however sincere, are not innocent. In fact, it declares that God, knowing the cause of their deception, will assist them in becoming even more deceived than they already are. Such powerful delusion and religious deception will be unleashed upon men, that they will embrace the worship of Satan himself. No longer will there be a pretense of man’s worshipping God under the guise of religion. Their true allegiance will be openly declared; their secret despising of the true God will be exposed; their condemnation will be justified. But such condemnation has always been just in the eyes of God, who looks past the appearance of things and sees the heart.


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.