Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Galatians 3:10 - 3:14

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Galatians 3:10 - 3:14


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Paul's opponents are subject to the curse of the broken Law:

v. 10. For as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the Book of the Law to do them.

v. 11. But that no man is justified by the Law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith.

v. 12. And the Law is not of faith; but, the man that doeth them shall live in them.

v. 13. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed be every one that hangeth on a tree;

v. 14. that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the spirit through faith.

Paul here takes up the claim of the Judaizing teachers as to obtaining the blessing of righteousness and salvation on the score of perfect obedience to the Law. He flatly declares: For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse. Instead of obtaining the blessing of perfect righteousness and being accepted by God, all men that have the idea that they can fulfill the Law perfectly are subject to the curse of the Lord, which He pronounced Deu_27:26 : Cursed is every one that does not continue in all chat is written in the Book of the Law to do it. The apostle implies, of course, that all the efforts of men to keep the Law of God perfectly are vain: no man can fulfill the demands of the just and holy God as expressed in His written will; there is no man without sin. And therefore they that persist in their endeavors to obtain justification before God by keeping the Law are under that curse which was pronounced from Mount Ebal.

That the Law and all attempts at fulfilling the Law cannot come into consideration in the justification of man is furthermore established by the fact that the Word of God itself excludes it as an agency of salvation: But that in the Law nobody is justified before God is evident, for, The just shall live by faith. Even though a person should strain every nerve to keep the Law of God perfectly and thus to be acceptable in the sight of God, it would avail him nothing, not only because the goal is unattainable from the very outset, but because God Himself makes the statement that faith is the justifying factor, Hab_2:4. Obtaining eternal life depends not upon works, but upon faith alone; salvation comes to him that places his trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior. This is not a matter of argument, of dispute, but it is a fact of the Gospel to which we must testify and bear witness unceasingly. To clinch his argument, Paul sags: But the Law is not of faith; it has nothing in common with faith; the two ideas, faith and works, mutually exclude each other. He that is justified by faith is not justified by the Law; he that still hopes to get to heaven by his good works, by his keeping of the Law, shuts himself out from faith, closes the one way of salvation which is open to all men. For only he that can point to an actual and entire performance of all requirements of the Law can justly demand eternal life in payment, a condition which is obviously unthinkable. So the apostle's argument stands that the Law is excluded as an agency of salvation by its very nature, since it demands a fulfillment which no man can render and, on the other hand, since it cannot work faith, by which alone justification before God is applied to man.

So far as the Law, then, was concerned, it left all men in a state of absolute hopelessness; for its blessing could not be realized on account of man's infirmity, and so only its curse remained to drive man to despair. But here the promise given to Abraham exerted its power: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse in our stead. As matters stood before the promise of the Messiah was given, final and utter condemnation was the inevitable lot of all men. And deliverance from this state of condemnation was possible only by the payment of a ransom which would satisfy all demands of justice. But for the prisoners under the sentence of death and damnation Christ Himself paid the price: He gave Himself as a ransom for all men, He endured the penalty pronounced upon malefactors, He hung upon the accursed tree of the cross as if He had been the guilty one. With great emphasis this is brought out, since Paul does not merely say that He became accursed, but that He became a curse for us, just as he writes, 2Co_5:21, that God made Christ to be sin for us. The word of the Law: Cursed be every one that is suspended upon a tree, Deu_21:23, spoken in general of such as were hanged, found its truest application in the case of Him that was crucified and paid the penalty of sin as all men's Substitute. Thus the atoning death of Christ resulted in our redemption.

The consequence of this atoning death is a matter of comfort to all men: That to the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus, that we might accept the promise of the Spirit through faith. Although the Gospel was proclaimed even in paradise after the Fall, the promise to Abraham is that to which the apostle has reference as to that upon which the hopes of the Jews were based. By the vicarious death of Christ the blessings of this promise were extended to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews; for it really amounted to an open proclamation that the wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles was now broken down, since the benefit of His death was to come upon all men. And the fact of the finished salvation in Christ is now made the property of the believers, who receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. Through the redeeming death of Christ all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, have free access through the Spirit to the Father. Thus, although the Law condemns all men, yet Christ, since He, as the Sinless One, took upon Himself the punishment of sin and became its victim for our sakes, fulfilled the demands of the Law so that it can no longer accuse and condemn those that place their trust in Him who is our propitiation, whose righteousness is imputed to us.