Two Curses and a Blessing

(a pastoral commentary on Galatians 3:10-14)

“You are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t,” so the saying goes. In the early to mid nineteenth century a young preacher by the name of Lorenzo Dow used this expression in reference to those who perverted the message of the Bible.

Paul uses a similar rhetorical device in Galatians 3:10-14. He speaks of two curses. In quoting the Old Testament he states that anyone who does not keep the Law is under a curse. Such disobedience is punishable by death on a cross, which is also referred to as a curse, “cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree.”

The first curse deals with disobedience, and the second curse deals with judgment. Because of our disobedience (first curse) we are deserving of judgment (second curse).

So check this out:

As sons of Adam and Eve, we are under the curse that comes from disobedience.

Despite the best of human efforts, we cannot completely obey the Law.

Because we are guilty of the first curse we deserve the second curse (judgment).

On the other hand:

Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience and was not under the first curse of disobedience.

Jesus did not deserve judgment (the second curse) because he was not under the first curse.

However, Paul states, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us.”

So, let’s follow the logic:

We are under the first curse, and thus deserve the second.

He was innocent of the first curse, but willingly endured the second.

Because he was not under the first curse, he could stand as a substitute for those deserving the second curse.

All who are guilty of the first curse can find freedom from the second curse through faith in Christ.

He became a curse for us so that we might be forgiven and made free.

“He made him who knew no sin to become sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

In these two curses we find the blessing of God available through Christ.

I look forward to talking about this more at the campus church on Thursday. Join us in person at the Old Louisville Coffee House or online.

(see blog post “Social Graces” to see how you can stream our Thursday worship service)