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.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 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”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
Comment: Curse number 1: The law is not only good but excellent. Perfectly kept it makes a person totally acceptable to God. Of course many think that it would be a bit of a dull life, but if you think in terms of perfect relations with neighbours; perfect family relationships; no guilty conscience before God or any one else – it would be great. Then why is the law a curse? Because you have to keep it completely and perfectly. If you break it your hope of a right relationship either vertically with God or even horizontally with your neighbour has gone. We can do our best with others but God is perfectly Holy.
Curse number 2: Back in Deuteronomy people could be hanged from trees as punishment and Paul here quotes that passage (Deut 21 v 23) – in effect it says cursed is everyone whose sin has to be punished in that way. That was the way Jesus died! Not because He was a sinner but for the sins of all mankind. And so Paul stressed that in His being cursed, he was a substitute for the cursing that our sins deserved. Now Abraham’s seed, Jesus, (as we have talked about before, and as God promised back in Genesis) is the fulfilment of God’s promise. Now the one who is righteous by faith can truly live in a right relationship with God. That person is no longer cursed because they are a failure, but accepted because Christ bore their curse as a substitute.
Prayer: Your forgiveness brings great relief, O my Saviour.