Christ Hath Redeemed Us From The Curse of the Law
By Sara Stoner
“Christ hath redeemed us from the cure of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” (Gal 3:13).
In the beginning was blessing. God saw that all His works were very good and He blessed all of it saying, “Be fruitful and multiply”. To Adam and Eve He gave one command: eat freely of all the trees of the garden except of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the day you eat of it, you shall surely die. When they disobeyed God’s one command, the curse entered in. The curse was immediate and thorough, and would apply to all the earth and the entire race of man. The result of the curse? -Sorrow and labor and the exclusion of God’s presence. With sin came the curse of God and the end result was death.
The history of the curse is long. The Law of Moses more clearly defined what was cursed. Transgressing God’s covenant came with severe penalties, as was the case at Ai. God spoke to Joshua, “Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you anymore, except ye destroy the accursed from among you” (Josh. 7:11-12). God could not be with Israel until Achan and his family and all his possessions were destroyed. God could not abide with Israel until the accursed thing was removed.
The earth also suffers the effects of sin and consequent curse. Isaiah 24: 5-6 reads, “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant, Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.”
The law, which is holy, just and good, carries with it a curse. At the entering into Canaan, six tribes of Israel stood on Mt. Gerizim to bless the people and six tribes stood on Mt. Ebal to curse. The Levites pronounced the curses, the sum of which says: “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen” (or so be it) Deut 27:26. The law demands obedience. It is the doers of the law who are justified, not the hearers only (Rom. 2:14). It demands perfect obedience. All the words of the law must be done. To fail in one point is to break the whole law (James 2:10). It demands continual obedience. “Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things to do them” (Gal. 3:10). Now you see the truth of what Paul said, that no man is justified in the sight of God, it is evident. Even this Apostle, whose righteousness of the law was blameless, exclaimed, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 7:24-25a).
The curse of the law is current, being still in effect today and applies to all who have not entered into covenant with God by faith. One may think that the law was given to the Jews only. Yes, the law was given to the Jews, but the Gentiles are not without law. The Jews were given the law on tables of stone; the Gentiles have it written in their hearts, “their conscience bearing witness to it” (Rom. 2: 14-15). Thus, all are under the curse of the law. The heinousness of believing one can be justified by law keeping is in this: the legalist tries to make God believe in him. He submits to God a righteousness of his own and believes God is bound to recognize it. These are they who will say to that righteous Judge on that day, ‘Have we not done many wonderful works in thy name?’ And He will say, ‘Depart from me ye cursed’ (Matt. 7:22). Those of faith submit themselves to God that He may work out His righteousness in them. (Expositor’s Bible) It is written “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness”(Gal. 3:6). James reads, “Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness” (James 2:23). Man’s righteousness before God cannot be of his own working. Our righteousness must be from God, based upon faith in Christ. One man said, “Faith unites us to the source of righteousness, from which unbelief severs us.”
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). Death on a cross was reserved for the basest of criminals. The one exposed there was subjected to despising, shame and ridicule, let alone unfathomable pain and suffering. Viewing Jesus there, men would “esteem Him smitten of God and afflicted,” thus cursed by God. This was Jesus’ baptism. He was lifted up from the earth as if He was not worthy to touch its surface, suffering the hatred and rejection of the Jewish leaders, His own people, and Pilate. And from above was only the blackness of heaven. He cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). But “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace fell on Him, and with His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). He was made a curse for us! He was made to be sin for us! And by this death He purchased our freedom, redeeming us from the doom and condemnation of the law. Praise God!