The blessed curse.
NOVEMBER 12, 2020
The blessed curse. Let’s talk about it on this edition of Key Life.
God’s grace changes everything. How we love, work, live, lead, marry, parent, evangelize, purchase and worship. This is Key Life with practical Bible teaching to get you home with radical freedom, infectious joy and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the third chapter of Galatians, beginning at the 15th verse, well the 10th verse and going to the end of the chapter. And I’m not going to take the time to read it again, because it’ll just confuse me and confuse you too. And if you’ve been listening, I’ve taken some time to show the rabbinical argument, that Paul is using to show the superiority of Jesus Christ and faith in him over works of the law. And to a modern mind, that is kind of confusing. And so I took some time to go through that text and just show you from Paul’s perspective and a rabbinical perspective, how effective his argument was. But bottom line is this, and we need to get this before we get anything else, you’re under a curse. That’s the bad news, and I am too. The good news is this, it may be the best thing that ever happened to us. Deuteronomy 27:26, and that’s the verse that’s quoted by Paul in Galatians 3:10, says,
‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all the things written in the book of the law and do them.’
Oh my, in other words, if you’ve ever told a lie, if you’ve ever broken your word, if you’ve ever had a lustful thought, if you’ve ever hurt somebody with your anger, if you’ve had racial views that betrayed the image of God in everybody, if you have had doubts and because you wanted to do something, you knew God wouldn’t want you to do, if you have ever one time strayed or failed to fulfill a pledge, the Bible says you’re under a curse Cursed by the law. Oh my. That’s not very comfortable and that’s not very good news. And people know it. They really do, you know, today not only do people do wrong, they don’t know it’s wrong. They have removed any measurement of good and evil and right and wrong and love and hate. You can find that in the social media, you can find it in the protest and the rioting. You can find it in the response of politicians to other politicians. The law is irrelevant, because the law and they get this part, because the law is a curse. And they don’t like the curse. And so they just get rid of the measurement itself. The Bible says we’re cursed, cursed by the law, but here’s the important thing. And the point that Paul is making in these verses, sometimes that which appears evil. is really good. And that which appears hurtful, is helpful. And that which appears harsh, is the utmost kindness. I have a Catholic priest friend who carries a card, on the front of the card, it says, blessed are those who curse you. And on the back of the card, it says they may be right. I guess that I want to show you, that Paul was saying something similar here. In another context he would say, blessed is the God of the universe who is cursed you with the law, he is right. And in that rightness, you will be blessed beyond anything that you can imagine. Why is that? Okay, let’s dig in and I’m going to show you. First, you need to note that the curse of the law restrains, Galatians 3:23-24a.
Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the law was our custodian until Christ came.
In other words, the law has a purpose. It takes really, really bad people and says, no, no, you can’t do that. That’s evil. It takes people who don’t know God and it says to them, there are some things that are good and some things that are bad. There are some things that are helpful and there are some things that will destroy you and I’m going to give you a list, it’s called the Big 10. Before we knew Christ, the law was what constrains us. And a matter of fact, in the book of Romans Paul teaches that that is still true. If you ask an Orthodox Jew, the greatest gift that God has ever given Israel, without hesitation, your Orthodox friend will say Torah, The Law of God. Someone told me not too long ago that they had a secret wish. I said what’s that? And he said, I listened to the testimonies of people who have been really, really bad, drugs and murder and stealing, you know, things like that. And I said, yeah, I know. He said, well, he said, sometimes I wish I could have been really, really bad, so that I could have a testimony like that. And I said something really pastoral and kind to him, like you’re a fruitcake, there’s something wrong with you. But that’s in effect what Paul is saying here, you have a testimony. You didn’t get better by obeying the law. You got better by recognizing that you don’t have a prayer, if that is what required. I asked my friend, do you think that your sin was any less displeasing to God before you were a Christian? Just because you didn’t do drugs. And you didn’t do pornography and you didn’t rob banks and you didn’t kill anybody. The Bible says, and I pointed this out that you’re as bad as the worst.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Now let me ask you what protected my friend? Let me tell you, it was the law of God. Because the law kept him from doing some things that would have absolutely destroyed him, it didn’t make him good, he was as bad as the worst, but it protected him. It restrained him. Let me tell you something about the law. And I’ve said this often to churches. Listen, if you’re visiting, we’re glad you’re here today and you ought to be able to take something that will be helpful to you. If you can’t sleep at night, read the Bible and do your best to live by it. If you’re having a miserable, depressing life, read the Bible and do your best to live by it. And you say, but I don’t even believe the Bible. I don’t care, and I’m not your mother. And I don’t care what you believe. If you read the Bible and you do your best to live by it, you’ll be better off than you are right now. And right now you’re miserable. It’s true, by the way, because you know what the law does, the law says, this is the mind of God. The law says, this is the way to live life without getting killed. This is the way to make a difference. This is the way to sleep better at night. This is the way to be blessed. This is the way to keep from being hurt because this is the way the world was created. And God says I created it. And I know it. And I’ve told you because I like you. Now that’s good news. It really is. Now, you know, the rules, all you gotta do is pay them. And if you obey the rules, then everything’s going to be fine. You’ll be healthy and wealthy and wise, and everything will work out. Well, that’s, and that’s the problem. And, that’s the wall you hit, when you’re going in God’s direction, you hit a wall. And you realize I can’t do this. I just can’t do this anymore. I thought I’d be better than I am. I thought I would never lie, never have a lustful thought, never be greedy, never be angry again, and things would be fine. And I just can’t do it. And I’m lost. And I’m cursed. And I’m dead. And I’m history. And then God says, and I love this, he says it in Hebrew though. God says, duh, finally you’re beginning to understand. Finally, you’re beginning to get what this thing is all about. Finally, you’re coming to the place where I can do something with you. How about, he says, how about we start with forgiveness. You think about that. Amen.
That was Steve Brown explaining the rabbinical background found in Galatians 3, a little complicated for sure, but so rich in meaning. On Monday, Steve, will continue with this unpacking of Galatians. Don’t miss that. But first, tomorrow, it’s time again for Friday Q & A, tomorrow Steve and our friend Pete Alwinson will answer this question, “What does it mean to be reformed?”. I know that’s going to be a good one, so make sure you join us. Well recently on our other show, Steve Brown Etc, we spoke with author Sharon Hersh about her new book called Belonging: Finding the Way Back to One Another. The book explores how our individual story connects to a larger story that we find ourselves within. Sharon is an amazing speaker. And I know you’re going to love hearing this full conversation, so call us right now and we’ll send it to you for free. Just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylife.org and ask for the CD. If you’re mailing us, send a request to
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