Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 11, 2020

“For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse” – “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”

Today’s devotion comes from Galatians 3:10-14.

“For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse;  for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”  Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident;  for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”  However, the Law is not of faith;  on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”  Christ 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”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  Galatians 3:10-14.

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“But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.”  Galatians 2:4.

We can paraphrase this “party of the circumcision”:  “What is wrong with requiring circumcision?  It is such a little thing.  It is the right thing to do.  Our fathers in the faith have practiced it for thousands of years.  And, it will keep everyone happy.”

But, what did Paul say?

“Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.  And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.  You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law;  you have fallen from grace.”  Galatians 5:2-4.

“A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.  I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view;  but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.  But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted?  Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.  I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.”  Galatians 5:9-12.

Circumcision was a little part of the Law.  But, it was dangerous in that it lead to a practice of trying to achieve righteousness through the works of the Law rather than through  faith.  “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.”  Galatians 5:9.  “However, the Law is not of faith;  on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”  Verse 12.

But, Paul was also not talking only about circumcision, nor even more generally ceremonial law, when he uses the term “Law”.  The Law also covers the Ten Commandments as the following Scripture clearly states.  

“What shall we say then?  Is the Law sin?  May it never be!  On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law;  for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.”  But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind;  for apart from the Law sin is dead.  I was once alive apart from the Law;  but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died;  and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me;  for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.”  Romans 7:7-11.

In today’s Scripture, Paul uses this strong language.  “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse;  for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”  Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident;  for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”  However, the Law is not of faith;  on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”  Verses 10-12.

“Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?  So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”  Galatians 3:3-5.

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free;  therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”  Galatians 5:1.

“For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”  Romans 7:5.

“For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor.”  Galatians 2:18.

“You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law;  you have fallen from grace.”  Galatians 5:4.

But, there is hope!

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba!  Father!”  Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son;  and if a son, then an heir through God.”  Galatians 4:4-7.

“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.  For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:24-26.

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us;  and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”  Colossians 2:13-15.

“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,  by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”  Ephesians 2:13-16.

“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”  Romans 7:4-6.

“For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.”  Galatians 2:19.

“I have been crucified with Christ;  and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”  Verses 20-21.

“Christ 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”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  Verses 13-14.


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