The Curse of the Law
I praise You, Lord, that Jesus died so that I could be free and have a close relationship with You.
Read Galatians 3:1-14
 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.  I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?  Have you experienced so much in vain-if it really was in vain?  So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?  So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.  Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”  So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.  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.”  Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”  The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”  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.”  He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat is Paul warning this church against?
Paul writes to the Galatian churches, addressing the fact that they were trying to achieve righteousness through their own efforts (3). He blames legalistic Judaizers who have been deceiving them (1), drawing their focus away from the completed work of Jesus on the cross and reintroducing some requirements of the Law. As we saw in Stephen’s speech last week, however, the Law cannot give life. It only condemns people to failure and death as we can never fully meet its requirements. However, they are fully met in Jesus, the Word become flesh, whose victory on the cross has defeated the curse of the Law (13) and allows us to live in his abundant blessing (14). Only faith in this Jesus (6) through hearing the Gospel (see also Rom. 10:17) brings salvation and fullness of life in the Holy Spirit. No amount of our own effort could ever have been enough, but Jesus did everything necessary on the cross and, as Paul reminds us, we live under grace and do not have to earn our salvation. That’s true freedom.
Where does habit stop and legalism start? Jesus paid for our freedom. In what areas do you need to apply this truth?
Thank God for your freedom because of Jesus and pray that he’ll help you never lose it to legalism.