“Christ … Become a Curse“
The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian Church, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)” (Galatians 3: 13). Here, Paul quotes Deuteronomy 21:22,23 which says, “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.”
Paul wanted to show the Galatians that Christ died under “the curse of the law” (Galatians 3:10). Our Lord was “made under the law” (Galatians 4:4) in order to be able to “redeem them that were under the law” (Galatians 4:5). His death upon the cross atoned for “the transgressions that were under the first testament” (Hebrews 9:15) as well as those since the cross. Accordingly, He took upon Himself “the curse” caused by those who, though living “under the law,” looked forward in faith to the atonement He would in the future made available for all.
As a result of sin, man had lost his purity, his ability to love and obey God, and even his life. Christ came to restore all things, not only in this earth but throughout God’s kingdom. The Son of God suffered death for us. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4–6).
The fact that it was for us, and not for Himself, that Christ suffered and died is repeated nine times in these verses, and again in Isaiah 53:8, 11. He suffered in our place. The anguish, humiliation, and pain that we deserve, He took upon Himself. Praise God!
In a Jewish method of crucifixion, a criminal hanged by impalement, by being transfixed on a sharp pole. He was regarded under the curse of both God and man. This extreme way of execution was done publicly to show the complete disdain in which the criminal was held because of his offense. The Son of God was crucified for us. His death provided an effective atonement for our sins. Christ’s sacrifice was essential to man’s redemption and restoration (John 1:29; 17:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).
Though Christ offered His blood for all. His atonement benefits only those that accept it by faith (John 1:12). To believe, means to accept Christ as a personal Savior, have a daily relationship with Him (through study of His word and prayer), and obey His commands by His enabling power. John the beloved sums the life of the saints as follows, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12 also 12:17).
In His service,