SUMMARY: No person is able to fully comply with the law. The law, therefore, is not able to save people. All people who seek to be redeemed through the ceremonies and rituals of the Law of Moses are “under a curse.” The only way in which we can receive eternal life is by faith. But faith does not merit salvation, therefore we are saved by grace through faith. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law.”
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.
OF THE WORKS OF THE LAW
Those who are “of Works of the Law” (Gal 3:10) include both Jews and Gentiles that seek to be justified through the ceremonies and rituals of the Law of Moses.
ALL PEOPLE ARE UNDER A CURSE.
In verse 10, Paul then quotes from Deuteronomy 27:26, which reads:
“Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.“
Paul emphasizes the word “all.” Unless one does everything “written in the Book of the Law,” one is “under a curse.” Since nobody is able to do obey the law perfectly (Gal 3:22; Rom 3:9, 23), all people are under this curse. Paul’s point is that the law is not able to justify (save, in modern nomenclature) a person.
“LIVE BY” REFERS TO ETERNAL LIFE.
Moses wrote that the man who obeys the law will be justified (3:12; Deut 21:23), but even the Old Testament later confirms that “the righteous man shall live by faith” (Gal 3:11, quoting Habakkuk 2:4].
“Live by” is used twice in these verses and many times in Paul’s writings. He uses this phrase to explain what gives sinners eternal life (Gal 6:8); the works of the law (e.g. Gal 3:12) or faith (e.g. Gal 3:11).
In verse 11, Paul quotes from Habakkuk to support his point that man is justified by faith; not faith “In Christ” specifically but faith in God.
Since the “curse of the Law” is on everyone that does not “abide by all things written in the book of the law” (Gal 3:10) and since all people sin (Gal 3:22; Rom 3:9, 23), all people are under that curse (Rom 2:12). But “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law” (Gal 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” (1 Cor 15:3).
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” (Heb 9:28).
“Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
“Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev 1:5).
The word “redeemed” implies that sinners have a huge financial debt, but Christ, through His death, settled that debt for us. But we should not interpret that literally. “Redeemed” is simply is one of the many Metaphors of Salvation which Paul uses. Many Atonement Theories have been proposed over the centuries.
BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
Our verses mention “faith” three times, but never “grace.” However, as explained in the article, By Grace through Faith, grace and faith cannot be separated. Faith does not merit redemption. Therefore God redeems us by grace through faith. As stated by Romans 4:16:
“It is by faith,
in order that it may be in accordance with grace.”.