The Cursed Christ and His Redeemed People
“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.” 12 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.”
— Galatians 3:10-14
How might you describe a person whose very life depends on his or her ability to follow a written set of commands? What if those commands happen to be so far out of reach, that person could have 10,000 lifetimes and yet never begin to fulfill their demands? Paul would describe this person as being cursed due to his or her inability to measure up to the standards set over him or he upon which his or her very life depends (Galatians 3:10, 13) This is not merely a hypothetical situation; it is the crisis every member of the human race finds himself or herself in prior to God providing a representative and substitute to do for man what man cannot do for himself.
God has standards which you cannot meet because his standards are determined by his own perfection and infinite value. You are not perfect nor can you be in your own power. You fall woefully short of being able to succeed in earning anything good from God! In your failure and inability, you are cursed before God because of his holy fury against sin. Under His standards, prior to any act of kindness or mercy shown to you, you are cursed with condemnation.
Do not move on so quickly that you fail to feel honest dread at the reality of your situation. It is horrifying to imagine an all-powerful God pronouncing a curse of eternal consequence on a transgressor of his law. One’s blood ought curdle at the thought of this horror. Tremble, human. Tremble at the horror of wrath in order that you may flee to the cross of Jesus Christ and treasure his sacrifice afresh and anew. In reality it should be you hanging there in reception of the white-anger of God as a result of your sin. As often as you travel to Calvary’s hill, you should expect to see yourself on the cross receiving your penalty; yet in going there you will surely see Christ, a perfect substitute, representative, and recipient.
Charles Spurgeon described the nature of Jesus’s substitution as such,
“Sin is an accursed thing. God, from the necessity of his holiness, must curse it; he must punish men for committing it; but the Lord’s Christ, the glorious Son of the everlasting Father, became a man, and suffered in his own proper person the curse which was due to the sons of men, that so, by a vicarious offering, God having been just in punishing sin, could extend his bounteous mercy towards those who believe in the Substitute.”
One can search for a lifetime in order to find a more glory-filled doctrine and never lay an eye on anything close because a more beautiful doctrine does not exist. The glory of Jesus’ substitution has no rival nor can any other mode of religion produce what the Christian freely receives in Christ: a Savior who became the curse for us. Jesus voluntarily took upon himself the responsibly of covenant headship as a representative for his people. He represented us under the curse of wrath and he represents us with his righteousness and perfection. May God open your eyes to cherish and treasure him for his work and accomplishments!
Your sin was placed on Him and He was crushed under the weight of it. Jesus was treated as though your life was his, as though he committed your sin. The Father counted Jesus as the worst sinner that there was, though he had never sinned, so that he could treat you as blameless though you are not! Under the immense weight of sin and curse, Jesus laid his life down as a sacrifice to satisfy the anger and vengeance of God. Oh how greatly he suffered unutterable horror in his soul while in the position of sin-bearing substitute for you! A human will never know what deep degree of agony He must have experienced while suffering in our stead.
While on the cross, He knew know comfort having had everything stripped from him. The torment he received was equivalent with the full experience of hell. His anguish will never be fully comprehended. We ought consider this with unrestrained tears flooding from our eyes! Oh to see Him on His cross and know he hung in our place!
Why did he go to such great extents? The answer is found in his own words, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep” (John 10:11). Jesus suffered because you needed him to suffer. Jesus suffered so that you could be purified of your sin and function as the bride that He deserves to have. Sinner saved by grace, where is your sin? It is no more. You don’t own it any longer nor could you find it if you set out on a life-long quest to rediscover it. You have been redeemed.
Therefore, rejoice! Rejoice in your Christ, who became a curse to remove a curse from his bride! Cast your whole soul upon His person in faith and live to Him alone. Who could do these things for you other than Christ? There is none! Where might your soul rest if not in Him? There is nowhere! How might you produce for yourself what Christ freely offers in grace? You cannot! How ought you respond to him then? The only appropriate response is to love and treasure Him supremely. Your soul has not nor ever will know anyone more important than your Christ.
Questions to Ponder
- What do you see when you see Christ?
- How does reflection on his sufferings stir your heart?
Prayer to Pray
“Father in Heaven, may my entire life be spent on Calvary’s hillside. Keep my feet planted there and give me strength to refuse any offer to go elsewhere. May all of my days be spent cherishing Christ for His worth and work. Rip my heart with affection for Jesus.”