Galatians 3:10-18 (ESV)
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall 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 hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.
As we saw last Thursday, no one will be justified based upon the Law, so why is Paul continuing to harp on this subject. As his letter stated in the first part of this chapter, someone–a wolf in sheep’s clothing–had infiltrated and was corrupting their faith. So he continues in his condemnation of that philosophy by explaining it in detail.
Paul was a Pharisee prior to his conversion to Christ. He was probably on the fast track to be high priest at an early age, because of his zealousness, but also because he had studied under Gamaliel, one of the premier teachers of the Law in that day. So since he knew and understood the Law better than most, he also saw the change brought on by the sacrifice of Christ.
The Scriptures never tell us why Paul did not see / know Christ while He was here, and why Paul did not seem to know of the Crucifixion / Resurrection until he was knocked off his horse on the road to Damascus. More than likely, God had kept him–Paul–reserved just for the purpose of the difference that he made once converted. Had Paul been aware of Jesus earlier, he might not have had quite the motivation that he did. But that is just speculation. We will never know.
Whatever the reason, Paul here, is quite clear as we saw at the end of Chapter 2, that works of the Law are not a means to justification. Now he is fleshing out the specifics about how Jesus was the curse, and yet the means of redemption, because He–Jesus–fulfilled the Law by becoming the curse that we deserved.
This is as I pointed out last Thursday, probably the most important doctrine in all of Scripture. Without Christ we are dead in our sins. When He declared, “It is finished!” and the Temple veil was torn asunder, the separation (between God and Man) caused by Adam and Eve’s sin was ended. But only inasmuch as we accept the new door–Jesus said He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He said that no one could come to the Father except through Him.
So no matter how good my philosophy is, no matter how much Buddha meditated, no matter how much I sell and give the money to the poor... Nothing matters until I come face to face with Jesus’ death–death on the Cross. He was the Lamb of God. His death replaced ours, so that His resurrection could also open the way for ours.
Rejoice in God’s Goodnes, and His Glory. Praise Him for His mercy. Live in mercy and forgiveness. Share His love with all those you know. For there is no better thing in life, and without this one thing, the next life (eternity) will not be with Him.
by Virgil Stripes