by Justin Nash

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ ” – Galatians 3:13

I was cursed. I was cursed because it was required that I keep all the law – every jot and tittle – not just in my actions, but in my thoughts, affections and motivations as well. Anything less than perfect obedience meant that I would be cursed before God. Perfection allows no exceptions, no failure of the smallest sort. To break one law in one place is to break it all.

This seems a bit unreasonable on the surface until we remember what the law is. It is not some arbitrary set of rules God gave us to test our worth. No, the law can never be isolated from God as it is a reflection of his moral nature and will. Each precept in Scripture finds its source in the person of God. So to disobey even the smallest part of the law is to reject the God who is the basis of the law. So I found myself under the curse.

The curse immersed me in the presence of sin. It was in me and I was constantly in it. Under the curse, sin was my master and I was its slave. My destruction as a just penalty for my sin was the ultimate end of the curse. I found myself in a hopeless state of condemnation in which I was not only helpless to redeem myself, but helpless to satisfy the just demands of the law and thus find acceptance with God. I could not break the curse.

I needed someone to save me, someone to pay for my freedom, release and restoration from the curse. And that is exactly what Jesus did for me – he became a curse so that I might be blessed. When Jesus died on the cross (hung on a tree) he alone satisfied the just demands of the law I broke, paying the penalty in my place, leaving a holy God free to bestow mercy on me on the basis of his justice being satisfied. Jesus became what I was, cursed, in order that I might become what he was, holy.

Paul paints a vivid picture here in the use of three expressions: “under the curse” (3:10), “made a curse for (above) us” (3:13), and “redeemed us out from under the curse” (3:13). We were under a curse. Christ became a curse over us and so between us and the overhanging curse that fell on him instead of on us.

There I was, the curse of sin dangling over my head like the sword of Damocles ready to drop on me at any moment. In steps Jesus, above me and under the curse. When the sword fell, it fell on him and not me. I was saved because he was cursed.

We are all under this curse and our sins must become Christ’s sins or we shall perish forever. Who is bearing your sins today? Are you still cursed or have you accepted Jesus’ becoming a curse for you? By faith Jesus changes place with us. He gets our sins and we get his holiness.

So let us rejoice in the wonderful truth that because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we are forgiven, accepted and loved fully, freely and forever by our heavenly Father

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