But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
THE CURSE OF THE LAW
“Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deuteronomy 26:27)
At the end of a list of curses, God tells Moses to sum it all up with the verse quoted above. The Law of God carries a curse with it. This echoes an earlier curse visited on mankind for disobedience to God.
“And 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 is the ground for thy sake; in 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, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
God has cursed the ground with thorns and thistles for man's sake. Man will eat of it in sorrow and in the sweat of his face. Man will also die because of disobedience. This sentence lies on the entire human race (Romans 5:12).
DEFINITION OF DEATH
The death threatened by God included instant withdrawal of the divine favor upon which man's life depended. It included the alienation and curse of God, the sense of guilt, corruption of nature and consequent actual transgressions.
Death meant the miseries of life, the dissolution of the body and the pains of Hell forever. DEATH ultimately means SEPARATION.
It means far more than just the separation of the soul from the body upon physical death. It means separation from God.
It was primarily spiritual death that was threatened by God. The death of the body was just one of the first fruits and relatively unimportant consequences of that greater penalty.
Adam lived for many years after the fall into sin, but he died spiritually the moment he sinned. He immediately began to grow old. The state of original goodness and happiness in which Adam was created was lost.
In its place came an overwhelming state of sin -- brought about as effectively as one puncture of the eye involves the whole person in perpetual darkness.
The wrath and curse of God rested upon him. He was now possessed with a sense of guilt, shame, pollution, degradation, a dread of punishment and a desire to escape from the presence of God.
PURPOSES OF THE LAW
One purpose of the Ten Commandments was to show us the way to love God and our neighbor. But another purpose was to show us our sin. Still another purpose of the Law was to show us our total inability to fully keep the Law.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:19-20)
THE LAW AS SCHOOLMASTER
The Law shows us that salvation by good works (the deeds of the Law) is impossible. It thus shows us our need of a Saviour. God has provided a Divine Saviour in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
The Virgin born Son of God kept the Law perfectly as the Representative of God's elect people. He then suffered the death penalty of the Law as our Substitute. His blood was shed as the Lamb of God who takes away our sins.
Thus, the deep significance of the crown of THORNS pressed down on the head of our Lord Jesus. He became a curse for the elect as He became sin for us, He who personally knew and did NO sin.
He bore the wrath of God due our sins. His was much more than a cruel, painful, physical death. He suffered, as it were, the HELL (eternal punishment) we deserve.
But God quickened him (made Him alive) three days later. His bodily Resurrection proves that God accepted His Sacrifice.
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: ” (1 Peter 3:18)
“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.
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 not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
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:
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:10-14)
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Galatians 3: 24-25)
In what sense are believers in Christ no longer under the schoolmaster (the Law)? We are no longer under its curse. We are saved by faith in Christ, not by the works of the Law. But we are still obliged to love God and our neighbor.
We are to repent (turn away from) our sins. Sin is the transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4). Therefore, the opposite of sin is to keep the Law. It tells us how to love God (first four commandments) and our neighbor (last six).
All Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament as applicable to Christians. The rest spoken of in Hebrews 4:9 is literally “a keeping of Sabbath.” Believers are those who have the Law of God written on their heart.
Christ died to save us from our sins (Law breaking). He died to make us righteous (Law keeping).
“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.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
”Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31)
IMPUTED (PUT TO THE ACCOUNT OF)
Adam's sin is imputed to his descendants in the same way that Christ's righteousness is imputed to those who believe in Him.
Adam's descendants are no more personally guilty of his sin than Christ's redeemed people are personally meritorious of His righteousness.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)
Will you join me in thanking God for the great salvation from sin and its curse? Our Lord and only Saviour Jesus Christ has provided it.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 41 years (in 2018). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2018 by George Theiss