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He Became Your Curse

The law will not change you, but the Gospel can.
Speaker: Len Finn | July 2, 2017 | Series: The Gospel + Nothing

Watch as Len Finn unpacks Galatians 3:10-22 and shows us how the Gospel + Nothing = Freedom in Christ.

Grace and Law

The Gospel is all God, all grace, and it’s all through Christ.

But if the Gospel is all about grace, what do we do about the law? If the Gospel isn’t about what we do or what we don’t do, then what do we do with the law, which is the explicit commandments laid out by God about how His people should live?

The Gospel Changes You

Laws, rules, expectations, and consequences are relationship destroyers. Grace, forgiveness and self-sacrificial love are healing and transformative. 

The Gospel is the power of God for salvation at every point in the believer’s life – from the moment you first believe to your dying breath. It’s the Gospel that claims you and it’s the Gospel that changes you. The Gospel that justifies is the Gospel that sanctifies.  

In itself, the law will never grow you, transform you, or change you into the Christ-like person God already sees in you. 

The Problem with the Law

The problem with the law is not actually a problem with the law itself – it is a problem with sinful humanity. We, as humans, have dysfunctional relationships with anything that sounds like a demand or expectation of us. We resent those things if they’re hard. We glory in them if they’re easy. We rebel against them if we can, or we find loopholes and excuses if we cannot. 

The law is all about human obedience, or disobedience. Do these things and you shall receive blessing and life – don’t do these things or you will be cursed and die.

The Law was the Guardian

The law is not part of God’s promise to Abraham, nor does it change the promises of God. The law is the guardian between the time of Abraham and Jesus. The law was given because we all are getting Fs on the exam of life, but we all like to imagine we are A or B students. The law’s purpose is to make the just judgment on you crystal clear – to make the verdict on you unmistakable – to make plain to sinful people that they are sinful. 

Nobody Escapes Innocent

Jesus revealed the fact that the law is not a to-do list – it goes far beyond that. Nobody escapes innocent from the totality of God’s will for your life – for the things you do and the things you don’t do – for the things you think – for the things you feel – nobody escapes judgment when the fullness of the law is revealed. Jesus said ‘be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect’. Good luck with that. The law’s fundamental purpose is to show you God’s will for your life and make you realize that if it’s all about your performance and obedience than you are royally screwed. Does that make the law bad? No. The law is perfectly good and holy, as God is perfectly good and holy, and theoretically, if you could perfectly obey the will of God, your obedience would indeed give you life. But you and I are deluding ourselves if we think we can. 

Living Under the Curse

Trying to, futilely, live by the law, means living under the curse of the law for your disobedience. 

To be under a curse is about divine abandonment. It is the opposite of blessing, which is about divine relationship – God showering us with His love and goodness. But to be under a curse is God leaving you to your own devices; God leaving you to the consequences of your own disobedience and performance. 

Human Rejection and Divine Abandonment 

The central story arch of the old testament is – Israel abandons God, so eventually God abandons Israel (for a time), and leaves her to destruction at the hands of the nations. Theologically, that’s what a curse is – God’s rejection and abandonment in the face of human rejection of Him. When we rely on the law, we are, in essence, rejecting God. We are choosing our performance over His promises. When we stop relying on the pure grace, pure gift of the Loving God, we are declaring to God that we really don’t trust Him. 

Fear and Shame

Fear, embarrassment, and shame do not come from relying on God’s promises and the power of the Gospel. That is all curse. That is all the power of the law. When you have feelings of shame, anxiety, insecurity, you are relying on works of the law, and you are feeling what it’s like to live under curse – in a world where God is not your Saviour, and you and your performance are. 


Living by the law alienates us from God, but it also alienates us from our neighbour, because if you are insecure and fearful, it will isolate you and you will create walls and distances for protection. We won’t be vulnerable because of fear and shame. On the other side, if you are self-righteous and proud, that will destroy your relationships as well. 

When you take a relationship of love and make it rely on demands and consequences, you put it under a curse. And you will both emerge either insecure and anxious, or self-righteous.

Scandalously Unfair

The law of God is perfectly fair and just. But the good news is that we have a God who is ridiculously and scandalously unfair. The Gospel is the opposite of our idea of justice.

Jesus lives a perfectly obedient life under the law. A life of obedience you and I can’t even begin to fathom. He therefore earns life and blessing, but He doesn’t keep this life and blessing for Himself – He give it to you, with no strings attached – except one; He takes the consequences of your disobedience and failure, your life under the curse, your death, and claims them for Himself. 

The Epicenter for God’s Abandonment

Christ became a curse for us. Christ became sin for us. Christ became the cosmic epicenter for God’s rejection and abandonment of all sinful humanity. 

On the cross hangs the only human being who ever kept the law. On the cross hangs the only human being who doesn’t deserve death. On the cross Christ becomes the new image of curse and death that God wants the world to see. On the cross you see the image of what should be your death, your curse, what should be God’s abandonment and rejection of you on the basis of your performance. In the hanging body of the Son of God, God declares through a megaphone that He is way more interested in love than fairness. God loves you way too much to deal justly and fairly with you. He loves you too much to allow His law to have the final say over your life. The cross is the word of the promise that Christ has paid the price for your performance once and for all. God is not in the fairness business. He is in the one-way love business. He is in the unearned-forgiveness business. He is in the unmerited grace business. 

The Deeper Magic of the Gospel

Wherever you are, know this first of all, God isn’t keeping score with you. He has given you an A in Christ, and moved onto better things, and so can you. But those better things never come about through the law. Because rules, demands, expectations and consequences, no matter how good and holy they are, will never truly change you or make your heart love someone. The law will not change you, but the Gospel can. Because love, when you feel unlovable, changes you. Because forgiveness, when you think you are beyond forgiving, remakes you. Because grace, when you have nothing left to give on your own, transforms you. It’s true in human relationships but it’s even more true in God, because these things break hearts and put them back together again anew, in bold, unexpected, and beautiful ways. That’s what C.S. Lewis calls the ‘deeper magic’ of the Gospel. 

Love Without Conditions

When you know that you are loved like that by God himself, without conditions and expectations – the love, the grace, the mercy He has shown you spills over into all of your other relationships and works its deeper magic there too. 

Cling to the Gospel

Let the law do the proper work in your life; let it bring you to your knees; let it disabuse you of all hope in you and your performance, and let it drive you to cling to the Gospel, and to God’s promises – the knowledge of the blessing of life found in the love of God through Jesus Christ.

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About the Author

Len Finn
Len serves as a pastoral assistant at St. George’s. He and his wife Stephanie and 2 children live in Alton Village.
  • About the Author

    Len Finn
    Len serves as a pastoral assistant at St. George’s. He and his wife Stephanie and 2 children live in Alton Village.
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