“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’—in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” ~Galatians 3:13-14 (NRSV).
Faith is the word. “Through faith,” as the Apostle Paul’s words echo asunder, we are known as believers in the Lord, Christ Jesus.
No one is justified by the Law—that is the message of verses 10-14 of Galatians 3.
Besides, when Paul commences Galatians 3 with, “You foolish Galatians!” he is nonplussed by their virulent return to powerless and entrapping dogma. They are fooled by some sort of perception of safety—to follow what they know: the Law.
But the Law, in this context—as the medium to salvation—is a red herring. Not only is there no safety in the Law, it is blatantly hazardous; perilous; condemnatory.
God Connecting Us with Abraham (Abram), through Christ
The Call of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 15:5-6), and the Sign of the Covenant (Genesis 17:4-8) laid out a promise for all humankind; how interesting that some conveniently forget this. Indeed, the Old Testament is riddled with examples, as in a Gatling gun let loose in a ghost town, where grace to all is promised, yes, beyond even the Jews.
Where the promise was bellowed from the heart of God into Abraham’s psyche—even as it had echoed as a love song from Genesis 1 and 2—there it travelled faithfully through the pre-Davidic line to the Davidic line, through until Jesus. How entirely fitting it is that the first gospel, of Matthew, commences with the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, which barks a resonant testimony of God’s faithfulness through all generations dating to Jesus (and now beyond, through grace).
The Cost of Grace – A Curse for Christ
The compelling flipside to the fact that no one is justified by the Law is that it cost God incarnate his earthly life—via a cursed, criminal’s death; the worst kind—in order to snap the curse over humankind.
Grace is not cheap; never was, nor could ever be.
It cannot be cheapened by following a bunch of rules; by behaving a certain way; by appearing as godly before humankind, without cognisance of and awe before God.
This thing of grace is gigantic. At one end of the continuum we have what it cost—a fact impossible to comprehend. Now, at the other, we have the resplendent vibrancy of this one and only thing that smashes the curse, death, legalism, and powerless rules to abide by, for real power to live as we were always meant to live. The cost cannot be measured, nor can the gleaming brilliance of such a thing—the gift of eternal life.
Grace is Vibrancy – The Law is Death
How do we sufficiently juxtapose two such dichotomous concepts: Grace and the Law?
It is no exaggeration that these are poles apart. One brings everlasting life; the other death... and perhaps the worst kind, for this type of death is fooled into thinking it has life. Smells like fire and brimstone; the source and residence of Satan is where that came from.
Grace is everything about not trying; but, instead, a faith to obediently follow. Grace does not people please, but satisfies itself in God alone. Grace is not self-conscious; it’s Spirit-conscious. Grace is, therefore, freedom to exist knowing and accepting there’s nothing left to prove and nothing left to gain.
Grace is vibrant. It expunges death, which in spiritual terms is the extrinsically-composed pressure of keeping to meaningless rules and endless senselessness. Grace frees us from all this, and there is not even anything we need to do—barring accepting our salvation, given our acknowledged sinfulness and repentance, unto thankfulness in the name of Jesus.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
General Reference: Leon Morris, Galatians: Paul’s Charter of Christian Freedom (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1996), pp. 102-07.