Redeemed From The Curse Of The Law
“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.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1
Redeemed From The Law’s Curse
Paul told the Galatian believers that they had been redeemed from the curse of the law. The portions of the law that were not properly kept or observed brought a curse upon all those who failed to perform it. There was a blessing for those who were able to maintain their responsibility to the law, but that relationship was largely maintained through the efficacy of the Levitical sacrificial system.
The Levitical sacrificial system afforded some aspects of God’s grace and mercy in regard to personal failures. However, some sins were unforgivable under the law, and failure in these areas demanded the death of the individual. The truth is that no man can live up to the righteous requirements of the law—not in its totality—and not consistently. This is not the law’s fault as God’s law is holy, righteous, and good. The law could not make men perfect (mature) because while it accurately described righteous action and righteous attitude, it did not provide the power by which these actions and attitudes were to be carried out. But once God gave the revelation of the law then all people were held responsible for it.
So, if it is true that no one can keep the law perfectly, and if it is also true that God’s law is an everlasting law, how is one ever to be acceptable to a righteous and holy God? Since I am unable to keep it, since failure is sure to occur, how can I escape the curse that is destined to fall upon me?
Redeemed From The Authority And Responsibility Of The Mosaic Law
God’s answer to this dilemma is found in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The sacrifice that He made redeems believers from “the curse” that their failures deserve. In reality, everything in and about the Mosaic law pointed to Christ Jesus. He is the promised seed of Abraham, the seed to whom the promises were made. He came and lived a life, totally subjected to the Mosaic law. When He gave his life on Calvary as a sacrifice for sin, He paid the price for every man for all time for the breaking of the law.
Jesus Christ is both our “substitute” and our “representative man.” By placing one’s faith in Him, men are redeemed from the curse of the law. The penalty of the law that had been broken was paid for by virtue of Jesus’ shed blood. Believers are joined in union with Him when they are placed in Christ. As a result of our union and identification with His sacrifice, the believer is freed from the authority and responsibility of the Mosaic law. Romans 7:4 states, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
I am not free to live a licentious and unrighteous lifestyle. I am not saved to embrace a life of sinful acts. I am made accountable to Christ. Paul would refer to this system of righteousness as the law of Christ (I Cor. 9:21). We find the instructions for proper morality spoken by Christ Himself and by the apostles by whom the Scriptures of the New Testament were written. Not only do we find the new covenant commands regarding morality in the writings of the New Testament, but we are also equipped in this new and “better” covenant with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. He is the “master teacher” who leads us into a righteous and holy lifestyle, who also empowers us to live right.
The Blessing Of Justification By Faith
With the advent of the new covenant, God has a new way of dealing with humanity. Their union with Christ allows God to view them as “law keepers.” Even the Gentile, who was no relation to Abraham, can receive the blessing of justification by faith. This wonderful benefit to humanity establishes a relationship with God for both Jews and Gentiles, including the entirety of humanity. The law of Moses separated Jews from Gentiles for their protection from ungodly influences. The laws concerning dietary limitations, circumcision, and the Jewish calendar (feast days and Sabbath days) were included in the law for the sole purpose of keeping God’s chosen people safe. These laws were boundary markers or identity markers that kept Israel separate. But this also created an enmity between the Gentile world and the Israelites. These laws no longer apply to the new covenant believer. They are a part of the old covenant. The old covenant is not our covenant. Yet the new covenant believer is still in covenant with the same God, whose nature and character as revealed by the Mosaic law is still accurate. He is a God who hates adultery, lying, falsehoods, injustice to the weak, and much more. So, while we are no longer under the law of Moses, we are under the law of Christ, which includes relationship to the same God. He has not changed! But how can new covenant believers hope to live up to the same standards of righteousness (and more) that we find exhibited in the Scripture?
The Promise Of The Holy Spirit
The answer to this question is found in the last portion of Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:14—believers are first justified by faith! But then there is a brand-new benefit of the new covenant. This element was foreseen and prophesied about in the Old Testament Scripture. God’s promise was that the new covenant would include the entrance of the Holy Spirit into the hearts and lives of all new covenant believers. Upon exhibiting faith in Christ, the believing sinner becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus. The spirit of the believer is changed. The mind is to be constantly renewed. And the Holy Spirit, the veritable presence of God, moves to live in the new covenant believer. He is the Master teacher, teaching the believer in regard to commandments as well as the character and nature of God. He is also the power source by which the Christian is to live and experience a life of holiness. Holiness is no longer attempted via the willpower of man, but true holiness is realized through faith in Christ. Jesus imputes His righteousness to us and then gives to us the promise of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit dwells in believers and causes them to walk in God’s statutes and judgments. How wonderful!
I am redeemed from the curse of the law. I am justified by faith. I have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to constantly conform me to the image of Christ. He only asks that my faith remains centered in Christ, who He is and what He has done. Amen.