Study 20: Gal.
The Curse and the
many as are of the
works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that
continueth not in
all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is
evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is
faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:
for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he
is guilty of all.
Just as the works of the
and living in the spirit are opposites
and mutually exclusive, so are cursings and blessings, and they are
directly linked to our subject. Those who do the works of the law are
under its curse, whereas those who are of faith are blessed with
1. Our obligation
In the passages above the thing we must note
under the law and do not
do ALL the
things in the law are under its
curse, for they have failed to fulfil all the
law. This shows the folly of trying to live by the law for
keep it. Let us think of this in more detail. The ten
commandments are not the whole law, they are its summary; the
rest of the Pentateuch gives a more detailed list of them as to what
God expected; so if, as many
Christians say, we have to keep the Sabbath holy ( ie keep it special
where we go to 'church') then we are obliged to keep the WHOLE of the
Sabbatical law; so we mustn't cook, pick up sticks,
( not even
for essential services) neither must we travel more than a Sabbath
day's journey, which means that most Christians couldn't go to church
anyway!! Thus the absurdity is immediately revealed, and that's
mentioning the Sabbath wasn't Sunday in any case.
There is no getting away from it, if you want to live by the law
have to keep ALL
of it and not
just the bits you want, leaving out the
bits you don't agree with. The man that does
them has to live in them
fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold,
Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you
nothing. For I
testify again to
every man that is circumcised,
that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of
effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are
fallen from grace.
The slightest breach brings
immediate guilt and
under its curse, that is: it condemns
pronounces the due punishment. And the very thing
guilty and passes sentence on us can
not then be our saviour! Yet many people try to live justly
before God by the very thing that condemns and sentences them!
2. The Curse: its
The first mention of a curse is at
God instructed Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good
and evil. We know what happened, Satan deceived Eve into
eating and then Adam was given of the fruit
it. As a result the relationship between man and
God changed, and God found it necessary to curse the serpent
the ground for Adam's sake. (Gen.
Two thoughts, related to our studies, come to mind here:
1. The serpent was cursed for tempting Eve, to go away from
2. The ground was cursed because of Adam 's giving
This first point reminds us of Paul's words in Gal.1:8
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto
you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
The serpent brought another gospel: that is disobedience to God in
to go after the flesh, resulting in taking Adam and the woman
away from God, thus the serpent was cursed by God. What a
terrible thing, let this be a warning to all! God will not tolerate any
who seek to stumble His people in the way taking them in another
direction, away from Himself. Mtt.18: 6-7.
The second point refers to those who yield
The temptation was to listen to the flesh, and thereby to walk after
it. The serpent tempted Eve on the line of the
flesh, appealing to her
Note these two scriptures concerning God's original purpose and what
happened at the fall.
|And out of the ground made
the LORD God
to grow every tree that is pleasant
to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in
midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
when the woman saw that the tree was good
for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be
desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof,
eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Eve had the extra desire to
be wise by eating
of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (cf I Jn. 2:16),
she wanted, by the works of the flesh, to be wise; the voice
flesh was louder than the command God had given.
decided to do the lusts of the devil (see study 19): and by giving way
to the temptation the
consequences, we know all too well, followed, Adam ate and
whole of the human race was plunged into sin, and
separation from God resulted. Thus
the works of
the flesh brought not only death but also the curse.
We see then that by not obeying God (and remember that
both Adam and
the woman were in ideal circumstances) that the curse
interesting to note that God said that he cursed the ground for Adam's
unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy
wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying,
Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed
the ground for thy sake (on thy account;Youngs Literal translation);
sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt
eat the herb of the field; In
the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the
ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art,
unto dust shalt thou return.
the ground is
whence Adam was created ( Gen. 2:6-7)
and he was placed in Eden to dress and
till the ground ( Gen.2:15).
But now the ground is cursed, man is to
labour for his food, and then return to it. It is noteworthy to see
that it was the ground and not Adam that was cursed, and it was for
Adam' sake. Having
walked after the
had now to live after it, thus echoing Gal.
gave, what became
known as the Mosaic law, He wrote into it
both blessings and curses.
it shall come to pass, if
hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and
to do all his commandments which I command thee this day,
the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the
earth: And all
shall come on thee,
and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy
God.................................................. But it shall come
to pass, if thou wilt
unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all
commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon
and overtake thee:............................
Deut. 28: 1-2; 15
quotes in Gal. 3.
Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to
consequence of what we have seen already. Obedience to God's
commandments brings blessing and disobedience brings a
curse. No one, except Jesus, has ever kept the law 100%
perfectly. Nor can any human being do so, for if Adam and Eve
perfect conditions could not keep a simple commandment, how can we keep
the whole of the Mosaic law in an imperfect world?
are all under the curse; this has to be removed if we are to
restored to fellowship with God.
The question naturally arises: why can't we keep the law
The answer goes back to the Fall, when Adam fell the whole of the human
race was plunged into sin. Sin entered and passed upon all ( Rom.
Sin became the habit of every human born into this world. We were
born sinners to begin with, and can not help but sin. It is our nature
to do so. This 'original sin' means that under no circumstance could we
ever keep the law perfectly. So the whole of the human race stands
guilty (condemned) before God.
When Jesus was born into the world He had no sin,
by the Holy Spirit, He was free from the taint of original
was this fact that made Him alone
worthy substitute for us.
For when He was crucified He was not paying for His
sin, for He had none.
hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:
for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a
Gal. 3:13 &
idea that Jesus was our substitute and that He paid our
Study 13); here we now have this thought enlarged a little. The word
redeem here means to 'buy
especially of purchasing a slave
with a view to his freedom. We were under the slavery of the
and Christ's death has bought us from that slavery. The price? His life
- we are bought with His precious blood. ( I Pet.
As a result we are free from the Law, its
condemnation and execution of the sentence. We are FREED from it.
But it cost Jesus very dear, for it meant that He had to be
a curse for us. The sinless one was made sin for us, and by being
hanged on a tree he became a curse, He couldn't be
curse by any other means. In other words Jesus was our
He bore our curse and as a result we could be set
the Law and sin.
God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in
blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are
past, through the forbearance of God;
For He hath made Him to
be sin for us,
who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
II Cor. 5:21
such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled,
separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth
not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his
own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once,
offered up himself.
by the blood of
goats and calves, but by his own blood He
entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption
suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of
the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of
himself........ So Christ
once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that
for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
His own self
our sins in
his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins,
live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
I Pet. 2:24
for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us
God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
I Pet. 3:18
And He is the
for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole
I Jn. 2:2
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent
His Son to be the
I Jn. 4:10
the quotes above is a strange one and
explanation. This word is used in the Septugint Greek
(LXX) concerning the Ark of the Covenant. On the day of
the blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat to be a covering (propitiatory)
and that by this ceremony God was satisfied and forgave the
Nation's sins. So the word means that God being satisfied with the
sacrifice. In the context of the Cross we
Jesus being the propitiation means that God was satisfied
the price Jesus paid by His death, that is His own life. Thus
Jesus' death was totally vicarious, He was crucified instead
us, He bore our sins in that He took the punishment that was
so that we could be freed from it.
Once more we need to realise that Jesus alone satisfied
requirements, there was nothing of our doing at
Nothing we can do
can ever satisfy God's demand for sin, the flesh
can do nothing.
5. The Blessing
hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:
for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham
might come on
the Gentiles through Jesus Christ;
that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a
covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth
to Abraham and his
seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to
which is Christ. And this
I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ,
the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot
disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the
law, it is
no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
curses God wants
bless us. However we can do nothing to obtain God's
favour or benefits, whichever word you use. It is all of His
grace. We see God's original purpose with Abraham: He wanted to bless
the nations through him. Note that it was to be to the whole world, not
just one nation called Israel! That nation was the
through which God was to work out His purposes.
the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy
kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
And I will make of thee
a great nation,
and I will bless thee,
make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless
and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the
it was God who was to bless, Abraham couldn't bless himself!
God doesn't bless then we have no blessings. This seems obvious, but
many times in our lives do we do things thinking that by so
we will find favour with God so that He blesses us?
looking at the
translation, it was the
the ground that
was to be blessed! That which God found necessary to curse in
Eden He wanted to work and reverse that curse and
bless the nations instead. And this He was to achieve by
Abraham's seed (note Paul's emphasis on the singular noun)
That seed was
thus developing the promise made in Gen. 3:15.
Before Adam fell God had the answer! It was Jesus ! For He was the Lamb
slain before the foundation of the world. Rev.13:8.
Abraham did not obtain this promise by working at it, or by
thinking it up as a scheme, after a meeting of the elders, and then
asking God for approval; no! God gave it by promise, He revealed to
Abraham what He was to do. And all this before Abraham was circumcised
(study 18), thus showing once more that it was to be
for the whole world and not just one nation.
Just as we inherit the curse by reason of our
natural birth, we
are 'in Adam',
so we inherit
the blessings because we are found 'in
on new birth. By first birth we are born into sin,
birth we are born out of it. By first birth we are in the flesh, by new
birth we are in the Spirit. Jesus has reversed and undone
Adam did in Eden, and all those who are born again, baptised
Christ, have the curse removed from them and have
blessings instead. We either have one or the other,