Our Curse, His Cross - Radical

Our Curse, His Cross

Apart from God’s grace, the Bible’s description of our spiritual condition is sobering. We live under the curse of God’s law, separated from Him and without hope. However, according to Galatians 3:13, Christ has taken on our curse at the cross and provided full redemption for those who trust in Him. In this message David Platt points to the heart of the gospel—Christ’s death for sinners.

If you have a Bible, and I hope you do, let me invite you to open with me to Galatians 3. If by chance you don’t have a Bible, then pull out those notes that are in the Worship Guide that you received when you came in. We are going to look at one main verse this morning, and I printed that verse in there. So, even if you don’t have a Bible this morning, you shouldn’t feel too left out. Galatians 3 though is where we are going to look specifically at verse 13.

Last Easter, we had an opportunity at Brook Hills to look at the picture of the gospel and adoption and how adoption helps us to understand the gospel. And we, Heather and I, were fresh off a plane to Kazakhstan, bringing our son Caleb home from there and, needless to say, since last Easter, things have changed radically. I don’t know what your week was like. I got thrown-up on four times, so this is the journey of adoption.

So, that was last year, and what I want us to do this year is I want us to look at the picture of forgiveness, and I want us to think about forgiveness and what it means and how important forgiveness is in our lives. Before we dive into the Word, I want you to watch a video clip with me. This clip is going to set the stage for our time in God’s Word. Just to give you a little bit of background that leads into this clip, this is a man sitting on a hospital bed, facing cancer, facing impending death, and he is having a conversation with the chaplain. This man has been a doctor in his life and is talking about at this point how he unknowingly killed an innocent man as a doctor. And I want you to listen to their conversation and pay particular attention to the questions that he asks. Watch this with me.

[Video Plays and Ends]

An ultimate question that undoubtedly affects every single person in this room is, “How can I find forgiveness? Do I need to find forgiveness?” I would submit to you this morning that there is no more important question that we will face in this life. And I know that is a bold statement, but think about it with me. Let’s assume that there is a God. Even if you are atheist or agnostic, you would at least have to admit that there is a possibility that God exists. So, let’s start there. Let’s just assume there is a God who is completely good, completely just, infinitely good and infinitely just, such that He is dead set against all that is not good, all that is evil. All that is wrong has no place whatsoever in His presence because He is good.

Let’s assume at the same time that we are not all good; that you and I are not infinitely good. There is at least some level, let’s assume, of evil or wrong in us. Maybe we think we don’t have as much as other people, but let’s at least assume that we have some level of evil or wrong in us. If this is true, then it poses the ultimate question of the universe: “How can evil people be in the presence of an infinitely good God, an infinitely just God?”

And as soon as I even throw that question out, I realize there are red flags that go up across minds in this room. “What do you mean evil people? We are not as bad as we could be.” And it is at this point, I want to offer a much different answer than the chaplain in this clip was trying to offer, and I want to say some things based on the authority of God’s Word to show you some things here that, in the end, may even be somewhat offensive. And I want you know from the very beginning, my goal is not to offend. My goal is to encourage, but to encourage with truth when it comes to this ultimate question.

And that question brings us to Galatians 3:13. Listen to what it says there. You can read along in your notes or in your Bible. “Christ redeemed us,” the Bible says, “from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree’” (Gal. 3:13).

Is forgiveness possible? Do we need forgiveness? Based on this verse, I want to put three truths in front of you, and we are going to unpack each of them. They are in your notes there. We are going to fly through some different parts, but I want to put these three truths in front of you as all important, glorious, difficult, yet, eternally transforming truths.

We are under the curse of God’s law.

Number one, based on Galatians 3:13, we are all under the curse of God’s law. We are all, every single person in this room, young and old alike…we are all under the curse of God’s law. That key word in Galatians 3:13 is “curse”. You see it three different times: “Curse”. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’” (Gal. 3:13) It is used twice in Galatians 3:10. It is really kind of the theme word of this section of Galatians.

It is a multi-faceted word. It is expounded in a variety of ways throughout the rest of Scripture, literally meaning “afflicted”, “doomed for destruction”, “damned”, “cursed”. This is not a good thing. And this verse is saying He redeemed us from the curse of the law, which implies that we are under the curse of the law. We are all under the curse of the law.

We are guilty before Him.

Now, what does that mean to be under the curse of God’s law? And this is where I want us to unpack it in a few different ways. I want to help us understand what the Bible is teaching here in Galatians 3. What does that mean? Well, first of all, it means that we are guilty before God; we are guilty before God. We all, every single one of us, has an awareness of right and wrong. A law, a moral law, so to speak, written on our hearts. And that is the way that we know the difference between right and wrong.

Now, there are a lot of people in our culture today who would try to debunk this idea by saying that right and wrong is open to your interpretation, and you determine what is right and wrong. You are the arbiter of what is right and wrong. And something may be right for you and not right for me, or wrong for me and not wrong for you. It is all up to our own interpretation. And that clip really exposes the fallacy of that kind of naturalist worldview, because if that were the case, then what do you do with rape or murder or stealing? Is this really open to interpretation? We know this is the way we live our lives based on the fact that there is right and wrong.

I am not saying that every single issue that we face is black and white, is easy, but there is a law written on our hearts, a moral law. And we all know that we have done wrong. Every single one of us has broken that law, and as a result, stands before God, guilty as lawbreakers. So, like Paul, the guy who wrote Galatians, said in another place, “There is no one righteous, not even one…” (Rom. 3:10). There is no one who does good not even one. In fact, he says that the more that we try to obey the law, the more it exposes the fact that we can’t keep it all. We are guilty as lawbreakers.

We are condemned by Him.

Number one, we are guilty before God. As a result, number two, we are condemned by God; we are condemned by God. The law condemns us as lawbreakers. Now, as soon as I throw that word out, I know that Easter Sunday morning is not taking the direction that we were hoping it would take. I know that some of you are thinking, “Hasn’t this preacher ever heard of John 3:16? Preach on that. It is better for the whole family as we come in. God so loved…”

Now, this is true; John 3:16 is true. You go two verses later and listen carefully. Don’t miss this. You don’t see John 3:18 plastered on football stadiums when you span across the TV, because it says God sent Jesus because the world stood condemned already before Him. This is why Jesus came because we are condemned by God.

Now, that sounds a little harsh. “Condemned by God for breaking the law?” Well, we have got to realize that the law is the reflection of the very character of God, and so to break this law written on our hearts, to be guilty as lawbreakers means that we have committed an offense against the Lawgiver, and we are condemned by God as lawbreakers.

We are separated from Him.

And that leads to the third truth that takes it even a step deeper. Not only are we guilty before God and condemned by God, but we are separated from God by one sin. Mind you, some of the thought in Galatians 3 was the people thinking, “Well, we are not that bad compared to others. We don’t have as much wrong or evil in us as others do, and so we are okay.” Well, what they have missed is the fact that the effect of sin is determined by the one who is sinned against. The effect of a wrong is determined by the one who is wronged.

Let me illustrate. If you sin against a rock, you are not very guilty. If you sin against your spouse, you are very guilty. If you sin against God, you are infinitely guilty. He is infinitely good, and one sin is an infinite offense in His sight. It creates an infinite chasm between you and God. We are separate from Him forever.

Our pride is set against Him.

Now, we hear these things, “We are guilty before God, condemned by God, and separated from God”, and immediately, our pride wells up against that. “Who are you to say that we are guilty and condemned, to use those words to describe me?” This leads to the very next truth: Our pride is set against God, and it is set against His truth and His law. Our pride is set against Him. That is what Paul is addressing primarily in Galatians 3. It is a pride issue. There were people who were living in their self-sufficiency, thinking that they were not guilty before God, condemned by God. They were acceptable before God based on what they did. And it was a pride issue. They assumed they could measure up. They assumed they could make their way to God.

And this was the thinking in the first century, when Paul wrote this book called Galatians, and this kind of thinking is alive and well in the twenty-first century. Even probably the most common question aimed at the Bible and Christianity concerns only one way to God. “How can you say there is only one way? There are many, many, many different ways to God, aren’t there?” You don’t have to have many conversations in Birmingham or see many conversations on Oprah to hear people talk about how there are many different ways to God. “It is arrogant to say that there is only one way to God.”

Do we realize that the core of that question that so many of us have asked and so many of us have had asked of us, is a pride issue? I am convinced that if there were a thousand ways, we would want a thousand and one. The issue is not how many ways there are to God; the issue is our autonomy. We want to make our own way to God, and what the Bible is teaching is you can’t do it. You can’t make your way to God. There is absolutely nothing you can do to can get you to God, and our pride is set against that. We are self-sufficient, self-confident, self-esteemed people who think we can, and the Bible is saying you can’t. Our pride is set against that.

Our hearts become hard toward Him.

As a result, not only is our pride set against God, but our hearts become hard toward God. The more we try to bring our self-sufficiency to the table, the more we try to measure up, however that looks in each of our lives and the more we resist our need for God, the harder and harder our hearts become. Many of you know this. Many of us resent talk about God and talk about church, because we know our hearts are growing colder and colder and harder and harder toward God. And our self-sufficiency and our pride keep us there. And that is the road we continue on until something happens in our lives that jars us awake. And whether it is sitting on a hospital bed or any number of other circumstances we face in life, we come face to face with some ultimate questions, and we begin to wonder about some ultimate answers.

Our lives are hopeless without Him.

And it is at this point that we realize, come to the conclusion, that not only is our pride set against God and our hearts hard toward God, but our lives are hopeless without God. Our lives are hopeless without God, and we wonder what is going to happen in the future. We wonder what that is going to look like, and we realize that our hearts are hopeless without Him.

Now, I realize when you put all that together, it is not the most encouraging picture that you have ever seen on a Sunday morning, especially on Easter; it is really an offensive picture. These truths are an affront to us. Guilty before God, condemned by God, separated from God, your pride and your heart set against God and hopelessness without God. In fact, I am fairly confident that many preachers, if they had looked last night at the outline that I am putting before you this morning, they would have said, “Whatever you do, do not preach that on Easter.”

Why is that do you think? Why do we not want to hear these things? Here is my guess at why: I am convinced the devil himself would take no greater delight than in bringing groups of people to this place today where a show is put on in front of those groups of people that, in the end, ignores the fact that God is infinitely holy and infinitely good, and sin is infinitely offensive in His sight, and His wrath against sin is infinitely just. And the life of every single person in this room is either headed toward everlasting joy or everlasting suffering. I am convinced that the devil himself would like nothing more than to blind individuals across the room of these truths, this reality. I am convinced that the devil himself would love to convince scores of people across this room that these truths are not for you. They don’t apply to you. He wants you to think that whatever I am talking about really doesn’t make sense, doesn’t add up.

I want to say before you as boldly, as clearly as I possibly can based on Galatians 3:13, that we, every single one of us including myself in this room, are guilty before God. We are condemned by God. We are separated from God. Our pride is set against God. Our hearts are hard toward God, and our lives are hopeless without God, because we are all under the curse of God’s law. That is truth number one.

Christ came under the sentence of God’s judgment.

But truth number two is this: We are under the curse of God’s law, and this is where I hope you see that the goal is not to offend, but the goal is to encourage. We are under the curse of God’s law, but second, Christ came under the cross of God’s judgment. Now, we are getting to the beauty of Easter. Christ came under the cross of God’s judgment. If we do not going through this first set of truths, we will never get to the glory of these second set of truths. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. We will never know what it meant to redeem us until we know what the curse of the law meant.

So, we have seen that, but He redeemed us from it by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, and this is incredible: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). Now, what he is doing right there is he is quoting from the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 21:23. I want to take you back there in your minds to the Old Testament, specifically Deuteronomy. And here is the deal. The way it worked was when someone committed a particularly heinous or serious crime, a crime that deserved the death penalty, then that person would die as a result of their crime. And then, what would happen is they would take that criminal’s body, and they would put it on a pole or a tree, and all day long, it would hang there on the pole or the tree as a depiction of the shamefulness of sin, of the seriousness of sin, of the wrath of God on sin. This was a picture. And you can imagine it was a very clear picture. You don’t want your body hanging on a tree. That is a picture of the curse of God. That is the Old Testament.

So, when you fast forward to the New Testament, the New Testament is talking about how we are under the curse of God’s law, deserving of God’s wrath, condemnation and judgment. Paul reminds us what Deuteronomy 21:23 says. And he brings the cross into the picture, and he says, “Remember, ‘Cursed is the man who is hung on a tree.’” Don’t miss it. This is not an accident, ladies and gentlemen. This is not happenstance. God in His infinite wisdom ordained that in the first century, we have this picture where the Romans have devised a cruel form of execution called crucifixion, where someone is taken and beaten and mocked and scourged and spit upon and then nailed to a tree, nailed to a cross. And God chooses this, the most cruel form. Not even a Roman citizen would be sentenced to this. The worst, the vilest crimes, God chooses this to be the route by which He comes to the earth in the flesh, and He walks, and He goes to a cross and He is nailed that that cross, a picture of the shamefulness of sin and a picture of the wrath of God on sin. And He says to the world, “You want to see the seriousness of sin? You want to see the shamefulness of sin? You want to see my condemnation on sin? Look at the cross. Cursed is everyone that is hung on a tree.”

That is why some of these Jewish background believers in Galatians just couldn’t buy into this cross picture, Jesus dying on a cross. He would never do that. But the reality is, this is the beauty of the cross: At the cross, Jesus takes all of these truths that we have seen, and us being under the curse of God’s law and He applies it to Himself. He becomes a curse for us, literally, in our place. And so, when you and I should experience the shamefulness of sin,

the cross is the picture. It shows us that Christ has taken the shamefulness of sin, our sin, upon Himself. And at the cross, He addresses all these truths that we have seen in the first half.

He covered our guilt.

And so in the first half, we are guilty before God. At the cross, Christ has covered our guilt; He covers our guilt. Here we stand guilty and cursed. Christ steps in the plane of human history, and this is the wonder of it. He steps in and lives a perfectly sinless life. Never once does He break the law, setting Him apart from every single person in all of history and qualifying Him and Him alone to be the sacrifice for our guilt. If He had one ounce of guilt, then how could He pay the price for our guilt? Instead, He goes to the cross. And don’t miss it, ladies and gentlemen: The storm of God’s justice that was aimed directly at your soul and my soul is now stopped with the umbrella of God’s mercy, the cross of Jesus Christ, that prevents us from experiencing one drop of God’s wrath. What a picture! Christ is covering our guilt. “He was pierced for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities…by his stripes we are healed” (Is. 53:5). “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, in order that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). He covered our guilt.

He endured our condemnation.

Not only did He cover our guilt, but He endured our condemnation; He endured it. This picture of how Christ redeemed us from the curse, what does that mean? Redeemed? This is a beautiful word in the New Testament. “Redeemed” is a word that is used to describe how in ancient Rome, every day, human beings were brought to a slave auction block to be auctioned off as slaves to this person or that person, slaves for this purpose or that purpose.

And the only way a slave could be set free is if someone would pay the price for their freedom. And the word that was used to describe that was “redemption”. Redemption literally means “to pay the price to set someone free”; “to purchase freedom”.

And this is the picture. This is the picture the Bible uses to describe what happened at the cross. When you and I, Paul said at a different point, stood there as slaves sold to sin, Christ redeemed us. He paid the price to set us free. What was the price? The price was His life, the very life of Christ. He redeemed us from the curse of the law. He endured condemnation for us. He experienced the death that was due us.

He suffered our separation.

This leads us to the next truth: Not only did He cover our guilt at the cross and endure our condemnation, but He suffered our separation. “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (Mt. 27:46). Darkness covers the earth as He is on the cross. This is a picture describing how Christ Himself swallowed the separation that is due you and me. Our sin, our guilt, the guilt of your sin, the guilt of my sin is put on Him in separation. Martin Luther said it best. He said,

Our most merciful Father, seeing us to be oppressed and overwhelmed with the curse of the law, so that we could never be delivered from it by our own power, sent His only Son into the world and laid upon Him all the sins of all men, saying, “Be thou Peter that denier, Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor, David that adulterer, that sinner which did eat the apple in Paradise, that thief which hanged upon the cross, and briefly be the person which has committed the sins of all men. See that you pay and satisfy for them all.”

Think of it: The multitude of sins and wrongs represented in this room alone…the separation deserved in this room alone was put on Christ at the cross. He suffered our separation.

His humility overcame our pride.

To think that our pride revolts against that, that even as I say that, there are minds across this room that say, “I didn’t need that. It doesn’t matter to me.” Our pride. At the cross Christ overcame our pride with His humility. In the face of our pride and defiance, “he humbled himself”, Philippians 2 said, “taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness…and became obedient unto death—even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:7-8).

This is an amazing picture. The Lord of creation stoops to wash the feet of the created and says, “I didn’t come to be served by you, but to serve and give my life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). This is astounding truth.

His gentleness overcame our hardness.

His humility overcame our pride, and we have hard hearts. Has the cross addressed that? It is at the cross where His gentleness overcame our hardness; His gentleness overcame our hardness. Do you remember what Isaiah 53 said? “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Is. 53:7). His gentleness, what a picture! Conquering not by force, but by humility and gentleness.

His death overcame our hopelessness.

Jesus comes on the scene, overcomes our pride with His humility and our hardness with His gentleness, and then ultimately, when we stand before God hopeless without Him, His death overcomes our hopelessness; His death overcomes our hopelessness. Do you realize everything changes at the cross? Everything changes at the cross. And here is why: At the cross of Jesus Christ, He stared death in the face. Death itself the ultimate penalty and punishment for sin. The ultimate destiny that every single one of our lives in this room is headed toward, and Jesus succumbed to it.

And for three days, death held all hope in its sway. Ladies and gentlemen, I remind you in the words of 1 Corinthians 15. To every person in the sound of my voice, hear these words. “‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ Where, O, death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” Under which we are cursed. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:55-57).

Consider the ramifications of that. Cancer, where is your victory? AIDS, where is your sting? Car accidents and heart attacks, where is your victory? School shootings and senseless murders, where is your victory? Tsunamis and tornadoes, where is your victory? Pain and suffering, grief and loss, sorrow and death, where is your victory? You have no sting. You have no victory because, cancer, you do not have the last word. And AIDS, you do not have the last word. And Tsunamis and tornadoes, you don’t have the last word. And school shootings and war, you don’t have the last word. Heart attacks and car accidents, you don’t have the last word. And grief and sorrow and pain and sickness and disease, you don’t have the last word, because Christ has the last word. The One who was cursed of God and hung on a tree is now exalted as the glory of God, the risen King, and He has conquered death and all of its effects. This is a picture.

And because of Him, atonement is possible. Because of Him, forgiveness is possible before God, no matter who you are, no matter what you have done, no matter what your past looks like, no matter how deep it is, no matter how thick it is, no matter how dirty it is. The beauty of the cross is, at that place, He took it on and covered your guilt. He endured your condemnation. He suffered your separation at the cross. This is the beauty of Easter. We will never get there until we realize these mammoth truths about our guilt and our condemnation. But when we see them, we see the wonder and the glory and the beauty of the cross, and we find ourselves laying all of our pride down, and saying, “We need the cross.” Pride has no place at the cross, no place whatsoever.

We now stand within the grasp of God’s grace.

This leads us to this third truth, and it is the application of Galatians 3:13 to our lives. We stand under the curse of God’s law. Christ came under the cross of God’s judgment. What this means for every single person in this room this morning is we now stand within the grasp of God’s grace; we now stand within the grasp of God’s grace. Which, when you realize the first set of truths, you will wonder at this third truth.

We can ignore the curse.

And the way that I understand Galatians 3 is this text puts three options before us in this room this morning. You have got them there in your notes. I want to invite you to consider with me how this text, this truth, this verse applies to your life. Option number one that we have from Galatians 3:13: We can ignore the curse that is talked about here; we can ignore the curse of God’s law. And by that, I mean we can take that first set of truths…that we are guilty before God and condemned by God and separated from God and our pride is set against Him and our hearts are hard toward Him and our lives are hopeless without Him…we can take that first set of truths and say, “I don’t believe it. I won’t accept that I am guilty before God or condemned by God. I just don’t buy it.” And we can continue on in the pride that says, “We don’t need God.” With a heart that says, “I don’t need God.” That is one option. We can ignore the curse.

We can work to overcome the curse.

Second option: We can work to overcome the curse; we can work to overcome the curse. Now, here is what I mean by that. The second option is we can take that first set of truths about being guilty and condemned and separated from God, and we can say, “I believe these things. I believe each of them.” But we can fail to go to that second set of truths. We can say, “I believe the first set, and as a result, I am going to do whatever I can to change this.”

Now, as soon as I say that, I know that many of you are thinking, “Why would anyone do that? Why would anyone embrace guilt and condemnation and, when Christ has done this, not go to the second set of truths?” It does seem a bit ridiculous, but here is the thing; please listen. This may be that moment for many people across this room. I am convinced that the majority of people in our church culture are choosing option number two. I am convinced that there are scores of people in this room who are choosing option number two.

Now here is what I mean by that. I am convinced that there are scores of people in this room this morning who hear these truths about being guilty before God or condemned by God in sin, and you think, “Yes, I know that. I have heard that before. It is nothing new. I realize that.” Scores of people who realize that, and scores of people who may even believe in God and may even believe in Jesus, that He died and rose from the grave. You may even believe that. But there are scores of people who never make it to that second set of truths.

Now, don’t get me wrong. They say they have. They say, “Yes, I need Christ to forgive me.” But the problem is we say, “I need Christ to forgive me, but I am going to work to gain God’s acceptance. And so, I need Christ, and then I need to pray. And I need Christ, and I need to study the Bible. And I need Christ, and then I need to go to church. And I need Christ, and I need to do these things: Be a good mom, be a good dad, be a good husband or wife. If I trust Christ and do these things, then I will be acceptable before God.” And the reality is, as soon as we add one thing to the work of Christ, then we have missed the whole point of the cross; we have missed the whole point of the cross. Salvation is not Christ plus what you bring to the table. That is pride. That is saying you can still do something, and the cross undercuts pride at the core and says, “There is absolutely nothing that you can do to please God, to be acceptable before God. You need Christ to do this in you. Christ and Christ alone. Only Christ can save you. You can’t do it.”

And yet, scores of us are living like we need Christ and these other things. This is not salvation; it is not salvation. And you see the hold the Adversary, the devil, has on so many lives like this. People who believe that they are guilty and condemned in sin and live in a state of guilt and live in a state of condemnation. People who feel like they are in a hole of sin, and they can never climb out. They try and try and try, even trying through church, and maybe Christ here and there to climb out, but they are never feeling like they are out of that hole. They are working to overcome the curse. And I am convinced that Satan delights in reminding you that you are condemned, and reminding you that you are guilty, and leading you there to try to figure out how to address that on your own. That is option number two: You can continue to work to overcome the curse.

We can embrace the curse and run to the cross.

Option number three is this: We can ignore the curse, we can work to overcome the curse, or number three, we can embrace the curse and run to the cross. “Now, what do you mean by that, ‘embrace the curse’?” Here is what I mean by that. Look on your notes. Look at those first set of truths. What I mean by “embrace the curse” is to look at every single one of those truths in your notes, and say, “Yes, yes that is right. That is absolutely right. I am guilty before God.” Not just say they are right, not just embrace them, but even rejoice in them. That sounds weird.

You rejoice in the fact that you are condemned by God? How can you rejoice in that? Here is how you can rejoice in these truths: When you look at this truth that says you were guilty before God, and to say, “Yes, I am absolutely guilty before God, but praise be to God, Christ has covered all of my guilt. I am absolutely condemned by God, but Christ, praise be to His name, has endured my condemnation. Yes, hallelujah, I am separated from God forever, but Christ has suffered my separation for me. Yes, yes, my pride, I see it. It is set against God, and yet, His humility at the cross overcomes my pride. He alone can overcome my pride. He alone can sever the root of pride and self-sufficiency in my life. So yes, yes, my heart is hard toward Him, but praise God by the blood of Christ, His gentleness overcomes my hardness. And yes, absolutely, my life is hopeless without God, but by His death, He has overcome all of my hopelessness.” Embrace the curse. Embrace these truths and let them drive you to the cross.

That is the picture of Easter. We are intended to see the depth of sin in our hearts and in our lives, maybe this morning, like we have never, ever seen it before and let the depth of sin embrace it and let it drive you to the cross and find that there is coverage for guilt. He endured your condemnation, and He suffered your separation for you. And so, I ask you the question this morning, very simply. We are under the curse of God’s law. Christ came under the cross of God’s judgment, and we now stand in this room in the grasp of God’s grace, within the grasp of His grace. First, are you going to ignore this curse and pretend like it is not a problem? Second, are you going to work to overcome the curse? Or third, are you going to embrace that curse and let it drive you to the cross to trust in Christ and Christ alone for your salvation.

How can we apply this passage to our lives?

Question 1

What does it mean that we are under the curse of the law?

Question 2

How is Jesus qualified to endure the condemnation in our place?

Question 3

Why was Paul so concerned about the pride of the Galatians in this chapter?

Question 4

How does the resurrection gives us strength for today and hope for tomorrow?

Question 5

Are you currently ignoring, working to overcome, or embracing the curse? How are you ministering to people you know who are partaking in the first two options?

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’”
Galatians 3:13

  • We are under the curse of God’s law.
    • We are guilty before Him.
    • We are condemned by Him.
    • We are separated from Him.
    • Our pride is set against Him.
    • Our hearts are hard toward Him.
    • Our lives are hopeless without Him.
  • Christ came under the sentence of God’s judgment.
    • He covered our guilt.
    • He endured our condemnation.
    • He suffered our separation.
    • His humility overcame our pride.
    • His gentleness overcame our hardness.
    • His death overcame our hopelessness.
  • We now stand within the grasp of God’s grace.
  • Three options:
    1. We can ignore the curse.
    2. We can work to overcome the curse.
    3. We can embrace the curse and run to the cross.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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