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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles

Chapter 5 - Galatians 3:13, 14 - The Curse Exchanged for the Blessing Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius

Index

V.

 

The Curse Exchanged For The Blessing.

 

     "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the bussing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."-Galatians 3:13,14.

 

 

     The law does not save, it does not justify, it does not bless. If we are to be saved, to be justified, to be blest, we must look elsewhere. A broken law makes a lost sinner; and what the law once does, it cannot undo. It overthrows, but cannot rebuild. It imprisons, but cannot deliver from prison. It carries only the key of entrance, not of exit. Sinai has the thunder and the terror, not the good news arid the grace.

     I.  The curse of the law.-The curse is God's sentence against the evil-doer. It is the utterance of His holy anger. He speaks in accordance with the law which He has given. It is properly the curse of the Lawgiver, of God Himself; but the law is represented as proclaiming the curse; the sentence due for the transgression of its statutes. The law touches no one that does not deviate from it; but the moment that there is such deviation, it seizes on the transgressor. Then its curse comes forth. Nothing less than the curse,-the strict, judicial curse or sentence; and nothing more. It knows no human passion; it calmly gives out its sentence against the offender. That sentence is death. 'The soul that sinneth, it shall die.' 'The wages of sin is death.' 'Thou shalt surely die.' And in that word death how much is included, both immediate and eternal! That death implied the wrath of God; it implied shame and anguish; it meant bondage, and darkness, and unrest; it shut out all possibility of happiness or peace; it pointed to separation from God and goodness; it reversed all that is included in that blessed word, 'life,'-the life of the body, the life of the soul.

     II. Redemption from the curse.-The words affirm such truths, as these-

     (1.) Deliverance.-From all to which the curse subjected us, present or future, bodily or spiritual; from the bondage, the exile, the imprisonment, the shame, the woe, the death, the wrath; from all this there is deliverance, deliverance as complete as it is free.

     (2.) Deliverance by purchase.-A heavy price has been put upon the sinner's head; and it must be paid in some way, else the full curse must be poured out on him. But the price has been found; the ransom has been furnished; the purchase-money has been paid; the message is, 'Deliver from going down to the pit, for I have found a ransom.'

     (3.) Deliverance by a substitute.-The payer of the ransom must coin the purchase money out of his own person. He must take the offender's legal place, bear the offender's legal burden, endure the offender's legal curse. The curse must be exhausted by a substitute,-the just for the unjust, the blessed for the cursed. The ransomer and the substitute must be the same.

     (4.) Deliverance by Christ.-He is the lover of the lost. He is the pitier of the cursed. He is the ransomer of the captive. His own right hand and His holy arm have gotten Him the victory. Christ is the deliverer, the ransomer, the substitute.

     (5.) Deliverance by Christ crucified.-The Substitute must hang upon the tree before heaven and earth. He must die our death of shame and anguish. Thus He is made a curse for us; and as such He is crucified, and as crucified He hears our guilt; nay, not our guilt only, but our punishment, our doom, our curse. Christ crucified is our Deliverer. The cross is the key that opens the prisoner's door; that unlocks and unbars the gates of death and hell. The cross has done the work. It has given righteous release to the guilty captive by propitiating offended holiness, and bringing round the law to be upon the sinner's side.

     III. The exchange of the blessing for the curse.-It was the curse once, nothing but the curse; it is the blessing now, Abraham's blessing, Jehovah's blessing. The removal of the curse is not enough. The blessing must come in its place, else the work is incomplete; grace would have but half its triumph; the love of God to man would have been a poor thing indeed. To open the prisoner's door, but leave him to starve, in hunger and cold and nakedness; to wander in a wilderness without a home or friend,-this would have been doing little for him. But God has not thus left His work incomplete.  He has not only taken away the curse, but supplanted it with the blessing. And this conferring of the blessing is as free and complete as is the removal of the curse. It comes to us simply in believing. We are not to work for blessing, but to get it free, in receiving the divine testimony regarding it. In believing we are blest!  Believing expels the curse, and introduces the blessing. It removes the wrath, and draws down the love. Abraham got all he had, simply in crediting what God told him; so we get all blessing,-pardon, life, joy, the inheritance,-simply in giving credit to the good news which the Father has sent to us concerning His beloved Son.

     (1.) The curse of the law is no empty threat.-It is terribly real. 'The wrath of God abideth' on him on whom that curse lies. Flee from the curse. Escape for thy life! It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

     (2.) The blessing is no idle promise.-It is sure and true. He who gives that promise cannot lie. Nor does He wish to escape from His obligations. He is not trying to get up excuses for denying us what we seek, as we seem at times to imagine. He snakes the best of all our approaches and applications, and regards in tender pity the faintest expression of a wish for blessing.

     (3.) The way of obtaining this blessing is no difficult or costly thing.-It is simplicity itself. It is the easiest of all easy things; and only our self-righteousness makes it difficult. To let go our self-righteous rope, and drop into the extended arms of Jesus,-that is all!