Galatians 3:10-14 – Curse of the Law – Bible study notes

  • Legalism will keep the Believer chasing after something already obtained in Christ; it will at the same time keep the Believer blinded to the glorious reality of their oneness in Christ, completely robbing one of the joy and satisfaction of the new covenant!
    • Gal 2:20 — Paul said this life I now live.. I live by the faith of the Son of God.
    •  Paul’s “old man” was dead through Christ (Romans 6:2-11).
    • He was truly free to live, but it wasn’t actually Paul who was living–it was Christ living through him.
    • Paul had learned the secret of victorious Christian living; it is not us living for Jesus, but Jesus living through us
    • Failure to understand this simple truth is at the root of all legalism and performance mentality.
    • The Law focuses on the outer man and tells it what it must do — Those who are focused on what they must do are under Law.
    • Doing in order to become — using the Old Covenant as a standard for our behavior in the process of “becoming” holy or righteous
    • Grace focuses on the inner man and tells it what is already done through Christ. — Those who are focused on what Christ has done for them are walking under grace.
    •  Being because of what was done by the finished work of Jesus — the process is in renewing our minds to what has already been done and who we already are IN CHRIST
  • Paul said the Galatians were “bewitched.”
    • Some translations say they were under a spell.
    • Paul wrote this letter to set them free from the spell of the law
  • Remember the language of the Gospel is “co” — because we were made in His image and likeness…. co crucified, co buried, co resurrected, co seated, co union, co heirs, co reigning, co glorified, co revealed!
  • So, NOW (since the finished work of the Cross), when God looks at this world He sees a perfect design and an equally perfect salvation that has been provided for mankind
  • There is nothing wrong with salvation — Jesus did not cry from the cross to all of mankind “OK, I have done My 50% now you give me your 50%!”
    • That’s a conditional covenant relationship — like the one God had with Israel (the Mosaic
      Law)
    •  NO! He cried IT IS FINISHED
  • What needed to happen to rescue the image and likeness of God in human form happened on the cross. Jesus paid it ALL for ALL!
    • IT IS FINISHED!
    • It was a perfect redemption — not when we believed it – but from the finished work of the cross
  • Jesus was COMPLETELY successful and His mission was effective regardless if we believe it or
    not.

    • But until we believe what He did, believe the Gospel, it will have no effect on our personal experience — you won’t experience and enjoy the reality of Christ’s finished work without believing it.
    • Faith… our believing, brings the eternal reality of His work into our temporal experience, BUT
      the work is already done whether we believe it or not.
  • Our repentance is not about making a decision to stop sinning and start behaving and living for God.
    • Our repentance is exactly what the word means… a change of mind
    •  To genuinely repent is simply to align our belief with the finished work of Jesus Christ
    • It is to change our minds about what He has already done to deal with sin — completely taking them away and removing it’s power over you… as well as completely forgiving you of past, present and future sins you may commit
    • Genuine repentance is joining our will to His work and resting in the fact that it is enough!
  • This is what Paul was trying to remind these Galatians of… they didn’t need to return to the Law which was a system of behavior modification, righteousness by works or self effort, a sacrificial system that constantly reminded them of their sins, a lifestyle of obedience to rules and regulations with a reward for good behavior and separation from God if not obeyed.
    • They had a new life with a New Covenant that was based Christ’s faith and obedience and resulted in a life of total blessing and victory for us.
    • A life of co-union…. His life in us and every wall of separation GONE!

This part of Galatians I want to spend time on… I don’t want to rush.

  • So we will spend 2 more weeks in Galatians 3
  • Because it’s important that we get an understanding of the Old Covenant.. the Law’s (including the 10 commandments)… and it’s place in our lives under this New Covenant of the finished work of Christ
  • Just this week I was in a Bible study where the teacher actually said “The Old Covenant Mosaic Law is still binding in our lives today and it is our standard for holiness”
    • That is a false teaching!
    •  Jesus is not only our ONLY standard for holiness but He made us holy… with His holiness.
    •  It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God: our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.
      • The problem with a teaching like that is that a hardness comes upon our hearts… our minds become closed or dull (v.14)
    • 2 Cor 3:15 And even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts
      • And the next verse says that when we turn to Jesus the veil is remove
        • 2 Cor 3:16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

So… let’s start with verses 10-14 and look at the curse of the Law

Curse of the Law

  • Galatians 3:10-14: For as 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. (11) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (12) And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. (13) 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: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
  • verse 10 in the Mirror is pretty clear…. In clear contrast to faith, the law is the authority of the curse. As it is written, “Everyone who fails to perform the detailed requirements of the law, even in the least, is condemned.” (Deut 27:26)
  • Paul was bringing out a very important point that the Judaizers (and those today who preach adherence to the Law or 10 commandments) conveniently fail to mention.
    • Deuteronomy 27:26 says, “’Cursed is anyone who does not affirm and obey the terms of these instructions.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’”
    •  James 2:10 says For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.
    • Those who put their trust in the Law must keep every word of the Law perfectly or else they come under the curse (Deuteronomy 28:15-68) instead of the blessing (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).
  • In verse 11 Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4… the just shall live by faith.
    • Galatians 2:20 tells us that we are to live by the faith of the Son of Go
    • Righteousness comes through His faith not the law
  • Then in the latter part of verse 12 he quotes Leviticus 18:5.
    • The Amplified Bible translated this verse as “But the Law does not rest on faith [does not require faith, has nothing to do with faith], for it itself says, He who does them [the things prescribed by the Law] shall live by them [not by faith].”
    • The Message Bible says, “Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: ‘The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them.’”
  • What a radical statement! “The law is not of faith.”
    • When combined with Romans 14:23–“Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” — it must have been near blasphemy to the legalistic Jews, just as it is to legalistic Christians today.
    • It is sin for New Testament believers to try to relate to God on the basis of attempting to keep the Old Testament Law…. of making it our standard
    • Romans 7:7 tells us that the Law itself is not sin, BUT it is sin to try to use the Law for justification with God.
    • Under the Law, people got what they deserved.
    • Under faith, New Testament believers receive grace because of what Jesus did for them.
    • Any departure from faith, especially a departure back to the Old Testament Law, voids the work of Christ (Galatians 2:21) and is sin.
  • Paul describes it in other letters as “falling from grace”
    •  we’ve used that phrase in reference to falling into sinful behavior
    • But it really means to fall from grace of the finished work of Christ into the bondage of the law of works – self effort
  • verse 13b -14 in the Mirror says… He absorbed and dissolved the horror of the curse in his own person. Scripture declares that anyone hanging on a tree embodies the curse. (Deut 21:23) (14) This act of Christ released the blessing of Abraham upon the Gentiles! Now we are free to receive the blessing of the Spirit
  • In verse 13, Paul quotes Deuteronomy 21:23 to show that justice was satisfied when Jesus died for the Law we broke
    • He paid the required penalty and He took ALL of the curse on Himself
    • There is now no condemnation awaiting us from the Law, for we died in Hi
      • Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
    • Christ’s death paid in full the justice the Law demanded
    • We are now free from the Law to be in union with Jesus Christ
      •  Romans 7:4: So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.
  •  The Law brought a “blessing” if obeyed or a “curse” if disobeyed
    • Any failure to obey the Law brought on the curse… and a list is given in Deuteronomy 28:15-68.
  •  It’s good to look at the list of curses so that we can see what we’ve been redeemed from
    • And if these things are happening in our lives we now know that we can declare those things unlawful in our life and walk in the truth of what Jesus did for us — He took the curse and blessed us in ALL things!
  • The list of blessings and curses in Deut 28 are a renewal of the Covenant.
  •  Quick history lesson…..
    • Deuteronomy in Greek means “second Law” — in Hebrew it means words
    • There was a new generation of Israelites, Moses was dying, and Joshua would become the new successor — therefore a renewal of the Covenant would need to take place
    • So in Deuteronomy, Moses recaps the Ten Commandments and the Laws governing the Covenant between God and the Israelites ONLY
      • He also lists additional laws in the Covenant that were not present in the original giving of
        the Law at Mt Sinai…..such as the provision for warfare – to allow the conquest of Canaan; a provision for Kingship; and the Law given for building one Sanctuary
      • And the inclusion of detailed promises of blessing for obedience to the Law and threats of curses for disobedience to the Law.
      • Further, there is a progression in the degree of severity of the curses, with the worst of all possible curses being the violent expulsion of Israel out of the Land of their inheritance and into exile where they will once again serve their enemies under the yoke of oppression (28:15-68).
    • After this renewal, it did not need to be renewed with each new ruler — it simply passed on from generation to generation.
  • Traditionally the rabbis counted ninety-eight curses!
    •  These curses were the prescribed punishments for the various acts of sinning against God
    •  But remember as we read these that Jesus COMPLETELY paid the required penalty and He took ALL of the curse on Himself
  • The ancient Sages, and later the Rabbis, have given a title to this list of curses in Deuteronomy 28: Tokhehah, which means “warning”.
    • And the warning is that just as obedience brings a well-defined series of possible blessings upon Israel, so disobedience brings a well-defined series of possible curses…..or consequences…..upon Israel.
  • Curses in Deuteronomy 28:16-68
    • curses upon you wherever you live – city or country
    • abundance being held back from you
    • no increase in your life
    • infertility
    • calamity and destruction of every kind
    • confusion, panic and chaos
    • heavy burdens = the idea of frustration and an inability to make progress.
    • ALL types of sickness and disease – including any not mentioned in Deuteronomy – until it destroys you
    • drought & pestilence of all kinds
    • attacks made against you that overcome you
    • psychological torment and sickness
    • blindness = inability to discern and see truth
    • absence of God’s presence
    • nothing makes sense anymore
    • all things you used to do don’t turn out well anymore
    • all of your worst fears begin to happen
    • loss of possessions
    • poverty
    • loss of family – losing your spouse to someone else; theft of your children by foreign nations – human trafficking
    • helplessness/stumbling
    •  dishonor/degradation
    •  lack of peace/rest
    • fear/torment/oppression
    • generational iniquity
    •  lack of success
    • harassment from others
    • violation of children’s innocence
    • every type of disaster not recorded in the Word
    • never being forgiven by God
    • rejection (by God and by others)
    • your name blotted out – end of you and your lineage
  • As for the blessings….. we won’t look at Deuteronomy but rather some New Testament Scriptures…I encourage you to study and find more Scriptures..
    • Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
      • EVERY spiritual blessing in Heaven is ours IN CHRIST
    •  2 Peter 1:3: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”
      • Everything we ever need for life and godly living has already been given to us
      • It comes through knowledge of Him… what He’s done for us and who He is in us
    • 2 Cor 1:20: For all the promises of God are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him, our “Amen” is spoken to the glory of God.
    • Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
      gentleness, and self-control.

      • All of those things are in us…. it is fruit in our spirit.
      • We don’t have to try to be patient, kind, faithful, etc…. it’s already in us!
    • Philemon 1:6 “by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”
      • You see, every good thing is in you in Christ! You’ve already got it!
  • You have a promise to be blessed in everything that you do.
  • You have a promise to be empowered to prosper in every area of your life.
  • You are redeemed from the curse of the law so that you can walk in boldness, wisdom, favor, strength and have victory every single day of your life
  • We do not have to suffer from anything and everything that Christ has redeemed us from!
  • Since this blessing now comes through faith in Christ, and not by observing Jewish law, anyone who trusts Christ now receives God’s blessing, whether Jew or Gentile, religious or nonreligious.
  • Christ removed the curse of the Law by bearing its penalty for us so that the blessings of grace and faith… the blessing of Abraham can now be ours.

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