Thursday, February 1, 2024

Blessing and Curse (Galatians 3:10-29)

"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13).

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned how Christ’s life of sinlessness and perfect obedience fulfilled the requirements of the covenant God made with Adam, the representative head of the human race. Today, we will explore more fully the concept of the covenant and its relationship to the sacrifice of Christ.

In the Old Testament, the reward for keeping the covenant was called a blessing, and the penalty for violating the contract was called a curse. In the benediction found in Numbers 6:24–26, the blessing is a supreme favor given by God Himself. That blessedness has to do with nearness to the presence of God. Nothing in this life or the next is of greater blessedness than to be in communion with God. We were designed, fashioned by God Himself, to live in His presence. That is the ultimate blessing. For the Jew, therefore, to be blessed was to have God draw near to His people (Ps. 46). The curse of the covenant, however, was to be cut off from the presence of God. This separation was symbolized on the Day of Atonement by the scapegoat which was driven outside the camp into the outer darkness (Lev. 16:20–22).

In the New Testament, Paul teaches that Christ became a curse for us with the penalties and sanctions of the Law bound up in Him (Gal. 3:13). We see the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies concerning the curses of God falling upon the Messiah in the crucifixion. When Jesus was dying on the cross, He cried, “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). This was prophesied in Psalm 22. The curse that God had pronounced upon mankind in the garden, the curse of separation from Him, the curse represented in the banishment of Adam and Eve from the His presence in the garden, was realized to its full extent on the cross. When Jesus hung on the cross, God withdrew His life-giving presence from His Son. Jesus took that awful curse upon Himself so that we could have communion with God, so the curse of a broken covenant could be changed into blessing for His chosen people. This is what is meant by “Jesus became a curse.” He stood in our place so that we will be able to see the face of God and enjoy sweet communion with Him for an eternity.

Read Deuteronomy 27 and 28. How seriously does God take sin? Even though we are covered by Christ’s righteousness, does this give us license to sin (Rom. 6)? What sins in your life have you become comfortable with? Confess them today and ask God to give you the kind of hatred for sin that He has.