All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:10-14 NIV)
Why would anyone who loves us give us something to curse our lives?
I must confess: I have an evil streak that leads me to give people gifts that create havoc in their lives. For example, if I am buying a present for a child, I buy something that makes lots of noise. I take great joy knowing the child is going to push the noise button again, and again, and again. When I buy someone a book, I like to buy them a big book with lots and lots of pages, and I work hard to find authors with high academic credentials so the reading is especially hard. So you don’t want to be on my Christmas list.
But would God do this? Would He give us something to make our lives miserable? Did He give Moses the Law, knowing full well no one could keep it, and that all would be condemned under it?
Yes, I can only assume He did.
But there is more to the story than this. While it is true God gave something that would put mankind under a curse, the Law itself was not cursed. The Law was beautiful. Rather, it was man’s sinful nature that created the curse, just as Adam and Eve’s original sin brought the curse of spiritual death into the human race.
God had two options. He could have left us under the curse of sin, in which case we would have missed out on a healed relationship with Him and the gift of eternal life. Or He could have given us the Law to school us in righteousness and convict us of sin, then send His Son to pay for that sin and remove the curse. He did the latter.
Without the Law there would be no conviction of sin. Without sin’s conviction, the removal of the curse would mean nothing to us. And without this understanding, we would not know enough to accept the grace God gave us, and we would be lost.
Therefore, though the Law left mankind cursed, it was nevertheless a good thing it came. Otherwise, we would be drifting along in ignorance, destined to eternal destruction.
It occurs me this puts the curse of knowing the Law in the same category as good medicine. It doesn’t always taste good, and makes people sick to their stomach, but it is necessary to be made well. And it is a part of our recovery. Even though we know Jesus, we can’t appreciate Him fully unless we know the pain of sin, which is a result of the curse of the Law.
By the way…what was that address again? I am putting together my Christmas shopping list.
Dear God, thank You for removing the curse. In Jesus’ name, Amen.