Note: To find out about the verses for the day, click here. And to read the other posts in the Galatians series, click here. (They appear in reverse order.)
My son and I sometimes watch the “Amazing Race.” It’s a great study in human behavior and opens up some good conversations. We enjoy learning about places all over the world, and it has inspired my son to want to be a world traveler.
In the “Amazing Race,” one man and his wife made a mistake by booking their airline tickets before they got to the airport. When they realized the error, he said it was half his fault. He was prepared to take part of the blame. He was measuring out who was responsible and justifying himself for part of his actions.
In contrast, another man, a Christian snowboarder, was irritable, jealous that he did not get to participate in one of the more thrilling tasks of speed racing a car. He acknowledged his sin, asked the Lord for forgiveness, and allowed the Lord take his anger and jealousy over the situation, and he became free. He depended on God’s grace.
This contrast is a picture of what we see in the verses for today from Galatians 3:10–14:
“10 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.’ 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 hanged on a tree’ – 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
Paul is quoting from Old Testament Scriptures (Deuteronomy 27:26 in verse 10; Habakkuk 2:4 in verse 11; Leviticus 18:5 in verse 12; and Deuteronomy 21:23 in verse 13).
Paul points out that if we are under the works of the law, we are under the curse, because the Scriptures (Deut. 27:26) teach us that everyone who does not continue in all things written in the law is cursed. As human beings who sin and make mistakes, we could never fully carry out the law and its requirements and demands. In this failure, we would come under a curse.
But Paul goes on to tell us the incredible news that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Deut. 21:23). Christ a curse for you and me so that we are not cursed. Ponder that amazing truth!
How then do we live? Not by the law, but by faith. Verse 12 tells us that the law is not of faith. They are not the same. The righteous shall live by faith and receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
This is what the snowboarder seemed to understand. He was walking by faith and dependence on Christ for his forgiveness and justification. The first man was living by law, accepting some of his mistakes and doling out the appropriate blame for others to carry. He was living dependent on himself.
The law brings a curse, and Paul will explain its role in further detail later in Galatians. For now, delight in the truth that Jesus saves us by grace through faith, not of ourselves or any works or keeping of the law that we could do because that would never be enough. Christ alone is sufficient to save us. Praise Him!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you would stoop to reach us. Thank you that you humbled yourself to death on a cross to take our curse and shame and guilt and sin, and give us your righteousness by faith in you. Let this glorious truth sink deeply within our hearts and take root so that we might not live in our own strength but by yours and in the power of your Spirit. Free us by this truth to not live legalistic lives, but ones of faith in you, praising you for all you have done. In Jesus name, Amen.