Galatians 3:10-12. For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”
Trying to find righteousness through law keeping is just a recipe for disaster- literally. Back in the Garden God imposed a law- “do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge.” To disobey this law led to a curse. The curse of death. This same formula came in the Law of Moses.
Deuteronomy 28:15-19. “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. 16 Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. 17 Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 19 Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.
To avoid the curse of the law there is only one way- obey all of the law all of the time. This is what Paul means when he says Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them. And when he says The one who does them shall live by them. In other words, the law can bring eternal life, IF you can keep it completely. But good luck with that.
So the curse of the law is death. It is the opposite of everything we have explored in this blog so far this year. It is the opposite of freedom, love, intimacy, impact, serving, protecting, and glory and worship. Law keeping kills you. It is a ministry of death. The law threatens and accuses. It’s impossibility can do nothing but cause death through the pride that comes when you succeed at it, and the despair that comes when you fail at it, and the constant comparison that it breeds in our hearts.
The good news of the law is that it reveals our need for the good news. The law should be exposing your self justification schemes each and every day and thus driving you from its death march to the life of Christ.
Here’s the problem for those of us who are Christians reading this. We agree with everything that is being said as we apply it to the Law of Moses. Yes the Law of Moses condemns. The Law of Moses threatens and accuses. We are under grace not the Law of Moses. But the problem is that we fail to see the 10,000 “laws” (little l) that we place ourselves under every day- the gym membership, family expectations, “authenticity,” being a good Christian, having daily quiet time, having a clean house, getting married, career success, scholarships, sibling rivalry- the list goes on and on.
These laws lead to the curse of death that slowly over time destroy the soul. “To live is Christ” promises a better way. A curse free life that comes by faith.