Galatians 3:10-13 - From Curse to Crucifixion
It wasn't enough for Jesus to just die, He must die in a cursed way.
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Read Galatians 3:10-13
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 38
Q. Is it significant
that he was “crucified”
instead of dying some other way?
This death convinces me
that he shouldered the curse
which lay on me,
since death by crucifixion
was accursed by God.
In Luke 4, the people Jesus was preaching to became furious, and intended to throw him off a cliff. In Mark 6, John the Baptist was beheaded by King Herod. In Acts 7, Stephen, an early church leader, is stoned to death for preaching the gospel.
There were many possibilities for the death of Jesus, but the way in which Jesus died is important.
In Galatians 3, we read why the crucifixion was necessary. For Jesus to take the wrath of God, he had to be nailed to the cross, or as it is stated in Galatians 3:13, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
In this section of Galatians, Paul is writing about the law and whether a person can be saved by the law. The clear answer is no. No one is justified by the law. No one can be saved by the law. The reason being, no one can keep the law perfectly. Read through the laws given in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy in the Old Testament and you will quickly see why.
The amazing thing is that Jesus not only perfectly kept the law in His life, but even the brutal execution He suffered fulfilled the law!
Paul uses a word several times in Galatians 3 to describe the law: cursed. He calls it a cursed because it cannot be kept. Each person who tries to live by the law ultimately breaks the law. Think of the 10 Commandments. Even if that were the only part of the law, every person reading this has broken at least one of the commandments, and when one of the commandments is broken, all of them are broken!
Yet Jesus kept the law perfectly. He never sinned. Yet, Galatians 3:13 says that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” How did Jesus become cursed when he kept the law perfectly? Because he was crucified on the cross. Death on the cross was accursed of God (Deuteronomy 21:23).
By his crucifixion, Jesus took the curse of the law, the curse against the sinner on himself. He bore God’s curse and became the sacrifice for sin.
When we recite the Apostles' Creed we so quickly move through the words “He suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was crucified,” but there is so much wrapped up in those words. The reason for His death is held in those words. The importance of his death is held in those words. Your very salvation is held in those words!
Jesus was condemned to die, not because He was guilty, but because of our sin. He suffered on our behalf. He took God’s wrath for you. Jesus was crucified to remove the curse of the law, and fulfill the law, for your salvation. The crucifixion was a painful, agonizing death, but it was necessary for God to accomplish his work in Jesus.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, the holy judge who justifies the righteous;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God that although you are unable to keep the law, your Savior provided you the righteousness you need to satisfy God by dying a cursed death.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Matthew 7