"The Curse & The Cure"
There is a curse that has been placed upon me. I am not perfected, therefore I am cursed, yet Jesus became a curse to save me from my curse. How does this work?
The Curse and the Cure
A. Getting a man into space is one thing, getting him home and landing in a way in which he can be safe is another. The calculations in the 1960’s were just beginning to use IBM computers, but the astronauts preferred human calculations. Hence the human computer named Kathrine Johnson becomes just what the Space Program needed. The movie, “Hidden Figures” centers around three women who were “of color” who changed the course of space calculations. Mrs. Johnson did the trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s 1961 Freedom 7 mission, America’s first human spaceflight. In 1962 as John Glenn prepared for the orbital mission he wanted “that girl” to check the calculations given by the new IBM computers. She would go on to help synch the Project Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the Moon-orbiting Command and Service Module. But here is my point. What if she was off just a small amount? What if her numbers were 99% correct and not 100%? The answer is simply, astronauts would die.
B. The Pharisees became a sect of the Jewish religion for a good reason. Pharisees wanted to separate themselves as people who believed in the strict adherence to the Law. They worked are at understanding and interpreting the Law. They upheld it as God’s holy word and wanted it kept perfectly. The Law was the center of what they believed and why they believed. You don’t mess with God’s word, you don’t change it, you keep it and you keep it perfectly.
C. Some of the Jews questioned the authority of Jesus. So Jesus turned to them and said (John 5:39-40). Then Jesus pushed their button (John 5:45-47).
D. The Bible is so important to our way of coming to know God, to understand the ministry and purpose of Jesus, and to learn what it means to be step with the Spirit. As important as the Bible is, the Bible is not what saves me, it is what teaches me, guides me to be in relationship with the one who saves me. It leads me to Jesus, it doesn’t replace Jesus.
I. The Curse
A. Paul sets before the churches throughout Galatia the facts about what it means if you say that you need to keep the Law in order to be saved (Gal. 3:10). Those who rely on the Law are under a curse. Let me put it this way, God doesn’t gloss over sin. It doesn’t make a difference if you are a legalist according to the Law or a one who puts trust in God’s law, if you break the law you are under a curse.
B. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law, but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” I can’t blame God for my actions. If I sin, even one time, I am a sinner. As a sinner, I am under a curse. What we must understand from this passage is that the curse is not the Law. The curse is the penalty levied for not keeping the Law. The Law can point out where we fail and fall short of God’s will, but it cannot pronounce us righteous; that was not its purpose. Paul takes his readers back to Deut. 27:26.
C. So what does all this mean for Christians who really believe that you have to win God’s favor by perfectly keeping the law? Here is Paul’s answer (Gal. 3:11-12). It is in part a quote from Hab. 2:4, “The righteous shall live by faith.” God expects me to keep his commandments. But this is not about keeping commands, this is about what it means to be justified. I am not saved by works, I cannot earn my salvation, and I have proven I am not perfect so that idea is thrown out of the window. It is not about glossing over sin. Paul absolutely agrees that sin is the curse of the law and that sin brings forth death.
II. The Cure
A. So Paul reminds his readers and us, what the real answer to salvation is. It is Jesus. Listen to Gal. 3:13-14. Paul has reminded us the “righteous shall live by faith.” Our trust, our faith, is placed in what Jesus did for us at the cross. Jesus, personally, was free from sin. Jesus was not made a curse for himself, he was made a curse for us. The Messiah redeemed us from the curse by paying the penalty for sin. Jesus took the curse upon him so I don’t have to.
B. The Law made it clear what needed to be done when a person was guilty of a sin – it was a called a sacrifice. Some sacrifices were done to show we trusted God to take care of the rest – like the sacrifice of the first fruits looking for God to bring about the rest of the harvest. But most were done as a way to deal with the sin issue. The problem is those sacrifices could not keep us forgiven, they simply dealt with the problem one time and had to be repeated. But Jesus did something the sacrifices could not do, he died once for all sin. He took the curse, all of sin, and accepted it in his body so that all sin could be destroyed by one sacrifice.
C. Peter put it this way (1 Pet. 2:24-25). Jesus bore my sin in his body on the cross. What a liberating feeling it is to know that I can come before a holy God without the weight of sin. Instead, I come before him, in faith, knowing Jesus dealt with my sin for me. I live for him because of what he did for me at the cross.
A. We are about to sing these words, “Kneel at the cross, Christ will meet you there. He intercedes for you. Lift up your voice, leave with him your care and begin life anew.” Most of you have done at one point in your life. You began life anew by meeting Jesus at the cross.
B. Life in that faith. Live in that joy. Live in that victory that Jesus did for you what neither the law or you could do for yourself. If we can help you to kneel at the cross, come as we stand and sing.
Because of Jesus,
Jeffrey Dillinger, minister