Thursday: The Curse of the Law

(Gal. 3:10-14)

What do the following texts tell us about human nature? How do we see the reality of this truth every day? Ps. 51:5, Isa. 64:6, and Rom. 3:23.

Image © Consuelo Udave from

Image © Consuelo Udave from

With the exception of Christ, all human beings have a common experience in that all have been infected by Adam’s sin. Consequently, no natural person can ever claim to be fully righteous. There are some such as Elijah and Enoch who lived exceptionally close to God, but none has been able to live completely blameless. Indeed, it is with this reality in mind that Paul declares: For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law (Gal. 3:10, NRSV). The truth is, the law demands total and complete conformity, and who has ever always given that, except Jesus?

How does Romans 6:23 help to define what the curse of the law means? See also Gen. 2:17 and Ezek. 18:4.

Everyone is naturally under the curse of the law. Because the law has no margin for error, it is impossible for a person to correct a past sin. Consequently, death is the individual’s fate. James paints an even bleaker picture by reminding us that transgression in one area of the law is just as bad as transgression in all areas (James 2:10). The wages of sin is death, and death has no proportions.

When we recognize the helpless condition of those under the curse, it is easier to appreciate the extent of God’s love: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8, NKJV). Through His death, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Gal. 3:13, NIV).

Think about what Paul said: For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse (Gal. 3:10, RSV). This is because the law can’t save us; thus, we are cursed with death. How can acknowledging this truth help us to better appreciate what we have been given in Jesus? In what ways do we manifest such appreciation in our lives? See 1 John 5:3.



Thursday: The Curse of the Law — 10 Comments

  1. There is only one way to fulfil the law of love which is God's requirement, we must be one with Christ. Any attempt to fulfil the law of love in our lives outside of being one with Christ results in more sin. This is the human condition.

  2. From what I understood in the study I really don't believe that in the begining God wanted a written law but he knew man would sin so it was to remind written. Obviously, man was not interesed in a relationship with him so he wrote the law to remind them of their sins. The law could never cleanse then or now. I think he hoped they would see the beauty of his character and they would be drawn back into an everlasting relationship.

    • Henry, as I understand it, the Law of God always existed as a transcript of His character. That "Law" is the law of self-renouncing love, the law of life for earth and heaven. Angels lived by that Law until one of the chief angels rebelled. The Law was implanted in the hearts of Adam and Eve, just as it was implanted in the hearts of the angels - until they removed themselves from the dominion of the Creator by distrusting Him and believing His enemy instead.

      The written Law was/is but a faint reflection of the original. It is declared in words understandable to humanity in its fallen condition. The Law now condemns us because it shows us our defects of character.

      God intends that the Law shall make us realize our need of Him - that we cannot live without a constant living connection with Him. And as we nurture our relationship with Him, He again writes His law in our hearts as He promised to to in the New Covenant:

      31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
      “when I will make a new covenant
      with the people of Israel
      and with the people of Judah.
      33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
      after that time,” declares the Lord.
      “I will put my law in their minds
      and write it on their hearts.
      I will be their God,
      and they will be my people. (Jer 31:31,33 NIV)

    • In the beginning men communed with God face to face(Adam and Eve). After sin entered the world, God hid his face from man (men too sinful). But at the same time, God spoke to human orally or in visions, and dreams. It was the responsibility for human to tell their children and grandchildren and proceeding generations. The written words came at Moses' time when God communed with him and told him to write those things. That was approx 2000 yrs later (after the flood). The Lord knew what he was doing so we can have the written words today.

  3. The curse of the law is death. Jesus neutralized the curse of the law for all who will believe

  4. Law of God's government can be fully complied with, if the whole mind of human beings is completely dead to desires of this world, which is fully controlled by satanic demons. Then, we will fully submit our whole desires and thoughts plus human wants according to God's will & guidance.

  5. "With the exception of Christ, all human beings have a common experience in that all have been infected by Adam’s sin." This is the opening sentence of today's (5/8/14)study. If we believe and accept this sentence to be true, then I think there must necessarily be a paradigm shift in our understanding and discussion of sin and the method by which humanity is restored to wholeness! If ALL humans appear with a particular trait or characteristic then we can on the basis of our current understanding of heredity make a truthful statement that that trait or characteristic is tied to our DNA. ALL the physical and intellectual characteristics that make us distinctly human we know are passed along through DNA. So if the opening sentence is true, and it appears to be supported by Scripture (like Psalm 51:5; Jer 13:23), then humanity's run in with sin is far more serious than most understand.

    In John 9 records Jesus' encounter with a man BORN blind, that "the works of God should be REVEALED in him"(John 9:3). Sin is much like blindness. Braille, as great an invention for the blind as it may be...service dogs, as useful as these creatures are; along with white canes; voice recognition software; none of these indispensable aids to the blind RESTORES sight. In fact, these INDISPENSABLE aids could be viewed as a "curse" to the extent that they are an ever present reminder to the blind of their sight-deprived state.

    Gal 3:19-25 explains why the law could be viewed as a "curse" (Gal 3:13). Interestingly, however, Gal 3:22 doesn't say "law" it says "Scripture"! No law (Mosaic OR Moral!) nor Scripture (John 5:38-40)has been ordained by God as the MEANS of humanity's RESTORATION to wholeness!! Just like their aids are indispensable to the blind, law and Scripture are INDISPENSABLE to the sinner but they can't restore such to wholeness. It takes the action, wisdom and power of a Creator to address a problem that resides in ALL our DNA...from newborn to aged, which is achieved only through faith in Christ (1 Pt 1:7-9; Gal 3:22). To the ones gifted wholeness by their Creator, the indispensable aids of law and Scripture are "done away" (1 Cor 13:8-11; Gal 3:25).

    I believe the truth of Scripture that, 1) ALL humans are flawed at a very fundamental level that, 2)has been passed from generation to generation that, 3) no preponderance of laws has resolved. May humanity recognize that its only hope is in the Lord of Sabbath.

  6. Friday's lesson
    Is there a contradiction in the last two paragraphs on Friday? Ellen White: "The law requires righteousness..." Romans 8:4 "...the righteous requirement of the law..."

    Second paragraph lesson author: "...He received the just penalty of sin as required by the law..."

    Are the Bible and Ellen White right or is the lesson author? or maybe I'm just missing something here in the mental gymnastics.

    • Larry, I don't know that I'm seeing the contradiction that you're seeing. The laws from God are all good (Neh 9:13), with some circumstantial exceptions (Eze 20:25; Mt 19:8). They are intended by God to produce righteousness (or right doing) among His human creation. When Israel entered into covenant with God they committed to obeying ALL of God's righteous requirements (Ex 24:7-8) and veered away from any of them under penalty of a curse (Deut 27:26). Scripture testifies that Christ has established a new Covenant, where He has already received the penalty reserved for violators, present and future, who enter into a faith relationship with Christ (Gal 3:10-14,24; 2 Cor 5:21).

    • No, Larry, I don't see a contradiction in the author's note. When Christ voluntarily took on the sins of humanity, he suffered "the just penalty for sin" for the sins committed by humanity, as required by the law.

      God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

      How Christ could take our sins and die in our stead when He lived a perfectly righteous life is beyond our comprehension. But the Bible clearly states that He did.


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