Happy middle-of-the-summer! I hope you are loving the book of Galatians as we go through it several verses at a time! I really wish that we could discuss these Scriptures together in real life. I wish that I could hear how God encourages you, challenges you, and reveals more of Himself to you through His book–that’s what it’s all about, after all!
I am teaching through Philippians this summer with a group of college girls and my greatest joy, besides the Word itself, is seeing and hearing about what God is teaching them. I wish I could experience the same with you…I pray for each individual reader every time I publish a new post. Know you have been prayed for.
Let’s jump right into the text: Galatians 3:10-14.
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
There is one tiny 3-letter word in verse 11 that should absolutely bring every religious person to their knees: ALL. Paul quotes Deuteronomy 27:26 here and tells his readers, “if you rely on the law to save you, you have to do it ALL, or you are cursed. Period.” All. ALL. ALL.
Question: have you kept, are you keeping, can you keep ALL of the law? My guess is you answered with a resounding “no.”
Here’s another question: have you ever or are you currently relying on some part (even a tiny one) of the law to save you? Again, I would guess you would answer, “Nope.”
Think on this for a moment: does God’s approval, acceptance, love for you change based on what you do or don’t do? If you have read your Bible every day, had some great times of prayer, shared your faith, been pretty obedient, held your tongue, resisted outbursts of anger, been active in your ministry, been a so-called “good Christian”, is God more pleased with you? If you haven’t read your Bible, or spent time in prayer, or shared your faith, or been obedient, if you haven’t acted kindly, if you called out of your church involvement, if you’ve been a “bad Christian”, do you feel like God is now less pleased with you?
If that is you–you go through the mental and spiritual anguish of good Christian/bad Christian–then you are relying on works of the law (v. 10). Hear me loud and clear: if you rely at all on what you do or don’t do to gain right standing with the Lord, then you must keep the whole law perfectly in order to acquire eternal life by it (v. 12)!
I love Paul’s dogmatic claim in verse 11: Now it is EVIDENT that no one is justified before God by the law. So he has just quoted Deut. 27:26 about being cursed if one doesn’t keep the whole law, but then he follows it right away with an emphatic, “But of course, that CAN’T BE DONE!”
And that is why “the righteous shall live by faith,” another Old Testament quote from Habakkuk 2:4.
And why are we freed from the law to live eternally by faith? Because Christ became our curse for us.
Verse 13 is one of my all-time faves: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. This is what Martin Luther called “The Great Exchange”–Jesus becomes a curse, we become redeemed. Glorious.
If you are a redeemed believer in Jesus Christ, then He has become the curse for you, and has given you the blessing. He has fulfilled the law of works and given you the law of grace. He has halted your insufficient efforts and granted you His worthy completion. He has taken away your filthy sin, and given you His perfect righteousness.
When the weight and magnitude of those simple, yet profound, biblical truths seep deep down into your heart, then you will KNOW that “It. Is. Finished.”
Christ already became that curse FOR YOU.