10 All who depend on obeying the law are under a curse. It is written, “May everyone who doesn’t continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law be under God’s curse.” (Deuteronomy 27:26) 11 We know that no one who depends on the law is made right with God. This is because “the one who is right with God will live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) 12 The law is not based on faith. In fact, it is just the opposite. It teaches that “the person who does these things will live by them.” (Leviticus 18:5) 13 Christ set us free from the curse of the law. He did it by becoming a curse for us. It is written, “Everyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse.” (Deuteronomy 21:23) 14 Christ Jesus set us free so that the blessing given to Abraham would come to the Gentiles through Christ. He did it so that we might receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. The promised Spirit comes by believing in Christ.
Hmmm. Life or a curse: which will I choose? Receive a blessing I haven’t earned in place of what I have earned? Receive the Holy Spirit, or be separated from God?
It doesn’t sound like much of a choice, but so many seem to choose the curse. Even more, why would anyone want to go back to the curse after receiving the blessing (like the Galatians)?
Yet it can be a subtle transition from “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12, NIV) to working to earn my salvation out of fear I may miss out. (I like the NLT “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”)
It can be easy to slip into obeying to earn acceptance rather than obeying out of love because I am not just accepted, I’m chosen.
It’s easy to start asking whether I’ve done enough; and to go from there to comparing myself to others and either condemning myself or them. (Did I forget “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1)?)
Thank you for taking that curse in my place, Jesus. Thank you that for the gift of that wonderful blessing that I could never earn. And thank you that your Holy Spirit now lives in me.
Written by David Cornell