The Curse of the Law and the Curse of the Cross
Galatians 3:13
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written…

I. THE LAW BRINGS A CURSE. It is not itself a curse, though it is a heavy burden. It was not sent for the purpose of injuring us, nor, rightly obeyed, would it cause any evil to fall upon us. It is the breach of the Law that is followed by the curse. But we have all broken the Law. So long, then, as we continue to live under the Law the curse hangs over us. Instead of hankering after a religion of Law, as the Galatians were doing, we should regard it with horror as for us sinners only a prelude to a fearful doom. The curse is the wrath of God, banishment from God, death.

II. CHRIST REDEEMS FROM THIS CURSE. This great truth implies three things.

1. Christians are set free from the curse of the Law,

(1) by the free forgiveness that stays the curse from falling on those who have incurred it in transgressing the Law; and

(2) by removal from the dominion of Law for the future, so that its requirements no longer apply, and principles of love resulting from grace have full sway. Obligations to righteousness are not thereby diminished, but increased; the motive for fulfilling them, however, is no longer the terror of a curse, but the spontaneous devotion of love.

2. This liberation is effected by Christ. We cannot fling off the yoke of Law nor dispel the curse. If done at all it must be done by One mightier than us. Hence the need of a Saviour. The gospel proclaims, not only deliverance, but a Christ who accomplishes it.

3. The deliverance is at a cost. It is redemption. The cost is Christ's endurance of a curse.

III. CHRIST SUFFERED THE CURSE OF THE CROSS. He was not cursed of God. It is significant that that expression is omitted in the quotation from the Old Testament (see Deuteronomy 21:23). We have no evidence of any mysterious spiritual curse falling upon Christ. On the contrary, we are told in what the curse consisted. It was the endurance of crucifixion itself. That was a death so cruel, so horrible, so full of shame, that to suffer it was to undergo a very curse. Christ was crucified, and therefore the curse fell upon him. Moreover, this curse is very directly connected with the breach of the Law by us.

1. Death is the penalty of transgression. Christ never deserved this penalty of violated Law, yet, being a man and mortal, he suffered the fate of fallen men.

2. It was man's wickedness, i.e. nothing else than man's violation of God's Law, that led to man's rejection of Christ and to Christ's death. The world flung its curse on Christ. By a wonderful act of infinite mercy that act of hellish wickedness is made the means through which the world is freed from the curse of its own sins.

IV. CHRIST'S ENDURANCE OF THE CURSE OF THE CROSS LIBERATES US FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW. He freely endured the curse. He endured it for our sakes. He became "a curse for us."

1. His endurance of the curse gave weight to his propitiatory sacrifice of himself. This was the most extreme surrender of himself to God in meek submission. As our Representative, he thus obtained for us Divine favour and grace of forgiveness in answer to that most powerful intercession, the giving of himself to a death that was a very curse rather than abandon his saving work.

2. Christ's endurance of the curse for us is the grand inducement for us to leave the "beggarly elements" of Law and devote ourselves in faith and love to him who died fur us. - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Christ 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:

WEB: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,"

Suffering, Redemption, Blessing
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