Paul’s Footsteps #48

Footsteps #48

But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” NLT (Gal.3:13)

Paul introduces another metaphor to explain what God has done for us in Christ in Gal.3:13. The word redeem means “to buy back.” It was used to refer to the ransom price paid to release hostages or the price paid to free a slave. Because the wages of sin is death, the curse of failing to keep the law was often a death sentence. The ransom paid for our salvation was not insignificant; it cost God the life of His Own Son (John.3:16). Jesus ransomed us from the curse by becoming our sin bearer (1Cor.6:20, 7:23). He voluntarily took our curse upon Himself and suffered in our behalf the full penalty of sin (2Cor.5:21). Paul cites Deut.21:23 as scriptural proof. According to Jewish custom, a person was under God’s curse if, after execution, the body was hung on a tree. Jesus’ death on the cross was seen as an example of this curse (Acts.5:30, 1Pet.2:24). No wonder, then, that the Cross was a stumbling block for some Jews who could not fathom the idea that the Messiah was cursed by God. But this was exactly God’s plan. Yes, the Messiah bore a curse, but it was not His own—it was yours! Jesus went to the cross wearing the curse both physically and spiritually. The crown of thorns echoed Eden, where the ground was cursed because of transgression. Jesus suffered a human death because of the wrong thing we are.

Please notice the text does not say Christ delivered us from the Law, it says He delivered us from the curse of the law – its penalty, which is death. It was the unchanging immutability of the law that put Jesus on the cross. The law can never justify, it condemns. The function of the law is to reveal sin, to accuse and denounce sin and reveal its punishment. We can offer no compensation to the demands of the law for it requires absolute 100% sinlessness. The law cannot produce repentance or reformation. It brings justice which demands the penalty – death. However, the law helps us understand how wonderful the promise is. The moment of redemption is the moment Christ became the curse!

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