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  • Ethos Church


March 15, 2023

But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.


In this passage, Paul teaches that the law can only bring condemnation (or curse). He’s saying: What we rely on for our justification determines if we are blessed or cursed. If we rely on faith, we find the blessing of Abraham. If we rely on the works of the law, we find the curse (we stand condemned because we can’t obey the law perfectly no matter how hard we try). Going further, Christ died to redeem us from the curse of the law. The word “redeemed” in 3:13 means purchasing one who has been enslaved in order to free them. Christ purchased us so that we might be set free!

Let’s think about this another way: Why would any believer (the Galatians or believers today) deliberately want to choose curse instead of blessing? Bondage instead of liberty? Law instead of grace? Here’s one reason why: legalism appeals to the flesh. The flesh loves to follow rules and then boast about its achievements. A person who depends on religion can measure himself and compare himself with others. On the other hand, the true believer who lives by the Spirit measures himself with Christ, is redeemed by Christ, and is free in Christ!


1. In what ways might living by the law (following the rules of a religious subculture) seem easier for you than living by faith and the Holy Spirit’s guidance?

2. Think more about the word “redeemed.” Stop and thank Jesus for purchasing you (even when you were enslaved to sin and the law) in order to set you free.


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