Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Curse of the Law

"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law"       
Gal. 3:13 (NIV).

At a bible study the topic of repentance from generational curses arose. Aren't they all now null and void according to this verse in Galatians?

What caught my attention in verse thirteen was the word curse. It is singular. In the Torah there are numerous curses associated with breaking the Law. Why did Paul write curse and not curses?  What is the curse of the Law? The answer is found just before verse thirteen.

"All who rely on observing the Law are under a curse, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law" Gal. 3:10 (NIV emphasis mine).

If I understand Paul correctly the curse comes with one's total reliance on the Law to provide salvation and righteousness. Keeping the Law perfectly with that goal in mind is no easy feat.

"For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking it all" James 2:10 (NIV).

The most inadvertent transgression of any aspect of the Law meant disqualification. Only Jesus kept the Law without fail.

Paul, an educated expert, was qualified to discourse on the Law's pros and cons. One good point according to Paul, the Law was "our Schoolmaster" Gal. 3:4 (KJV). If you hate school, then the Law isn't your friend. Pleasing God comes by faith (Heb. 11:6) and the righteous live by faith (Heb. 3:11). The Law can't produce faith because it isn't faith based (Gal. 3:12). Its framework of impossible demands to be kept perfectly can produce a stable, balanced and productive life and society, but never right standing with God.

We often forget that Jesus, the disciples and most of the early church were Jewish. They didn't abandoned their faith and call themselves Christians. That name wasn't coined until Saul and Barnabas ministered in Antioch.

The Law was a shadow of good things to come, not the reality of them. No longer dependent on its observance for their righteousness, the traditions and practices were now celebrations of the Messiah woven into every aspect of the Law's fiber that provided a goldmine of revelations.

Jesus said, "Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" Matt. 5:17 (NIV).

To believe the Law is now null and void and that curses no longer exist presents a problem. If this is the case, the blessings associated with the Law are also gone. I'm not so sure we want to relinquish these.

Back to the original discussion of generational curses. If my theory is correct, then the curse of the Law Paul wrote about in Galatians is something different altogether. We also have to remember that the Law only pertained to the Jewish people, not the Gentiles who operated outside of its boundaries. Oaths, vows, covenants and the curses attached to these when voluntarily made fall outside of the Law's jurisdiction.

The Law provides a snapshot of what Heaven's like; what we can expect to experience there. Absent are the behaviors that cause chaos, disruption and upheaval in every area of life. If living under the Law seems stifling, Heaven will be a miserable existence.

How about you? How would you describe the curse of the Law? Christ's death redeemed us from this. What effect, if any, does it have on curses activated outside the purview of the Law? Is the possibility of their existence and legal authority to impact our lives worth investigating?

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