Thursday, December 04, 2014

God's Curse or Blessing? - Part 3

‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ ” “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:” (Deuteronomy 27:26–28:2, NKJV)

That leaves us in a precarious situation, doesn’t it? Not fulfilling every command leaves us under a curse. The blessing is for those who "observe carefully all His commands." But carefully obeying every single command both in deed and attitude is not possible!

So, Paul teaches us in Galatians 3 that there are two ways to live life, and these ways are mutually exclusive. He explains this in verses 11 and 12. In verse 11 he tells us that one way is to live by faith, "The just shall live by faith." The other way, given in verse 12, is to live by the law. He says very clearly that the law is not of faith because those who do them shall live by them. The “them” I take to mean all of the commandments in the law. So you can live “by faith” or “by them, the commandments”. These are two mutually exclusive ways of living. Each one of us can live either by faith or by the law, but not both.
Paul now makes the statement that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of a law because Christ became cursed for us. Why? What is the purpose?  He goes on in verse 14, "that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Emphasis mine).  Jesus Christ fully kept the law in every way including all deeds and attitudes. And yet, he bore the judgment of the curse. This happened so that blessing could be given to us, the blessing given to Abraham that was given to him unconditionally. In other words there were no constraints of law-keeping on him. We receive the truth of this blessing by faith -- by believing what God has said concerning Christ's work on the cross for us. When we believe this we move from being under the law to living by faith -- a totally different approach to life.
In Galatians 3:15 we read that even men’s contracts are binding. We know that is true in our culture. When you sign a contract, it is a binding agreement. Therefore it is even more so if God makes the contract. God's contracts are binding. God is faithful and true and his contracts cannot be broken. God made a contract with Abraham and his seed, and he made it as a one-sided promise. Nothing can void the contract which God gave to Abraham and his seed.
This is where the real crux of the argument begins to come into play. This is such an important truth I hope that you will take the time to really think about what is happening here. Galatians 3:17 tells us that the law which came 430 years after the promise to Abraham cannot annul or cancel the promise which God had made to him and his seed. You see, the law that the Israelites were given that conditioned either blessing or curses was given long after God promised a blessing to Abraham. That law cannot add conditions to the promise God gave him. God won't hold Abraham and his seed accountable to the law in order to receive his blessing. That would be adding terms to a contract already ratified by himself.
If you know a little bit about Old Testament history, you know that Abraham lived before Moses. God's rescue of the Israelite people and the subsequent giving of the law came 430 years after Abraham's time. God had made a binding contract with Abraham and nothing that would happen later could annul that agreement. Why? Because God’s Word and promises are certain and binding. If man’s contracts cannot be abrogated, how much less can God’s? What Paul is saying is that if God were to give the blessing of the inheritance based on the law, then it wouldn’t be the result of a promise any more, but God gave it as a promise without any conditions.

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