“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them. ’”
Paul now turns to an argument that shows how inconsistent it is to think that we can keep the law for salvation or sanctification. Having established what faith in the finished work of Christ can do, Paul now pivots to what the law cannot do. Not only does keeping the law fail to give salvation, but it brings God’s curse upon the person who attempts to keep it.
For as many as are of the works of the law
Legalists in Paul’s day insisted that a person must keep the law to be saved or sanctified. Paul now takes their thesis and shows how untenable it is.
The word “of” in the phrase “works of the law” means origin or source. Legalists were under the delusion that they could measure up to the law.
are under the curse;
The word “curse” comes from two words: down and curse connoting the idea of condemnation. God pronounces a “curse” on those who try to establish a relationship with Him through works. He does this because Christ already took our “curse” for us. When we try to add to His suffering for sins by suffering for sins ourselves, we doom ourselves to God’s judgment. We cannot pay for that which Christ already paid. If we do, we live under a curse from God.
The law of God has teeth in it – the law pronounces a “curse” on those who try to keep it for salvation and sanctification. There is a penalty to pay for the slightest infraction. No one is exempt from this penalty.
Dishonest people think they are an exception to the rule. There are many ways to get around human law, but there is no way to circumvent God’s law. God’s law is God’s standard. It sets forth what God will and will not accept. He will not accept 99.9% of the law. He demands perfection.
Keeping the law for salvation puts a curse on us.
God places us under the curse if we try to keep a good batting average with the Ten Commandments. This is an awful shock to religious do-gooders.
If we need a delicate operation, we do not go to our local butcher; we go to a skilled surgeon. If we need salvation, we do not go to the law because it will pronounce a curse on us. We go to the cross that frees us from our sins.