Galatians 3:10-14

3:10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”

3:11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 3:12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”

3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”—3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.


Here Paul provides one support for his statement that man is not justified by the works of the Law and one support for his statement that man is justified through faith in Christ Jesus:

Unless one does “everything written in the Book of the Law”, one is “under a curse” (3:10, quoting Deut. 27:26).  Since nobody is able to do obey the law perfectly (3:22; Romans 3:9, 23), all people are under this curse.  This means that the law is not able to justify a person.

Moses wrote that the man who practices the laws will be justified (3:12; Deut. 21:23), but even the Old Testament later confirms that “the righteous man shall live by faith” (3:11; Habakkuk 2:4].  “Live by”, used twice in these verses, is an Old Testament expression that means to be justified (to be right with God).

Redeemed (3:13) – The “curse of the Law” is on everyone that does not “abide by all things written in the book of the law” (3:10), and since all people sin (3:22; Romans 3:9, 23), all people are under that curse (Romans 2:12).  But “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law” (3:13).  As stated elsewhere:

… the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11)

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins ” (1Corinthians 15:3)

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many …” (Hebrews 9:28)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1Peter 3:18)

… Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5)

Christ died (2:21) to redeem us from this curse (3:13).  He thereby made it possible for us to be justified simply on the basis of faith (3:14); we do not have to earn it.  And because it is not earned, it is by grace (merciful kindness), as stated by Romans 4:16:

it (righteousness) is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace

Many people interpret such statements as that God was angry, or at least that the holiness of God requires an appropriate punishment, and Jesus suffered that punishment.  It is proposed that this is an unfortunate and incorrect interpretation.  “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  Christ’s sacrifice did not change God’s attitude towards sinners.  Rather, through His sacrifice God reconciled us to Him.  It is us that need to change; not Him – He loves us, as impossible as that may seem.

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