Chapter 43 The Curse Of God

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (Galatians 3:13).

The ultimate of all evil is the curse of God. When God blesses, one in sorrow finds joy—one in pain finds ease—one who is burdened finds their burdens bearable—death becomes most welcome. But who can tell what horrors may be wrapped up in His wrath? Better not to have been born than to have to experience that!

We must remember at the outset that man’s act of crucifying another may not be the curse of God. The Romans crucified many victims who were innocent of heinous crime. That is what they did to those who resisted Rome’s iron rule of law. Many saints of God have been crucified simply to show man’s hatred of Him whom they loved. This verse is not a general statement of all who have hung upon a cross. It is a prophetic word relating to God’s beloved Son who, for us men and our salvation, bore our sins—the guilt and punishment of His people’s sins. Every sin of theirs was transferred to Him and put to His account, as though He had committed these innumerable sins. Their curse was borne by Him. He came to be a Substitute for His people, that they may be pardoned and set free.

The Essence of the Curse

The curse of God is the very essence of salvation’s scheme. In it the vastness of God’s grace is demonstrated in the Redeemer’s love. We have already seen a picture of the cross in the uplifted serpent (Numbers 21:8). Here we have that truth made plain. Hanging is named. “He that is hanged is accursed of God.” This foretells the cross of our Saviour. When He was to appear in the fullness of time He was to expire on a cross. No man can invent such foretelling. So the Saviour must be crucified or else the curse is not taken away.

As we of these after days know, the cross of Christ is recognized history. The Lord Jesus has suffered in that way—lifted up as an accursed spectacle to God, to angels, and to men. To bring this about Israel must needs lose their supremacy of power and, with that, the right to put anyone to death. Their judicial power must needs be taken away, for this inhumane death was not a Jewish death. Had they retained their right to rule themselves in their own country then our Lord would have been stoned to death. Thus the scepter of rule had to pass into Gentile hands and Roman law prevail. It was Pilate, the Roman governor, who delivered our Lord to this Roman death, for Rome had conquered and subdued Israel so that the prophetic word could be fulfilled. It was God’s scheme—His means for our complete redemption which would answer His justice and righteousness.

The Reason for the Curse

Why such an awful fact as the curse of God? Since “God is love,” what kindles such a fierce flame as this? If man had loved and obeyed God who made Him—if His inward law had governed him—then there could have been no such thing as the curse of God. But man, by Satan’s wiles, became a rebel against God. The fountain-head of the human race was poisoned. Let us hold up God’s Word before our own eyes and examine ourselves in the light of it. We are a sinful, polluted, and rebellious people and it is written clear and plain—“Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians3:10).

That is clear and plain. It is as solemn as it is plain. The whole law of God was summed up by our Lord in two commandments—love God and love man. This exercise of love was to be in every movement of the heart. All our thoughts were to be in love to God and man. All our words were to sound out in love to God and man. All our works were to be done in love to God and man. It was one law for all. But one single failure and the law is broken and the curse falls. The hand of the curse of God falls on every sinful man. And who can escape? The curse of God is what all deserve. There can be no excuse as to why we transgressed. The solemn fact is that all have done so, so that all are accursed of God. No human penitence can change that! We have all failed to love God and man. That failure has linked us to the curse.

The Escape from the Curse

The Lord Jesus is the substituted curse for His people. His redemption is sufficient to save all men and all men may come to Him. His invitation is open to all. But He is only a Substitute for those who believe that for them He became the curse of God on Calvary’s cross. God’s righteous vengeance upon all sin fell upon Him. He bore all the anguish which would have been His people’s doom. He absorbed all their deserved penalties and punishments. There was no pity—no mitigation because of who He was. It was the total curse—the dreadful curse of God. We who believe point to Him and the plea is valid and prevailing. We cannot suffer what our Surety has borne for us. Thus we cling to Jesus. We clasp the meaning of the cross. We drink from the fountain of peace which flows from that accursed tree. Unless He had come and done this then the curse of God would have been upon us for ever.

My song is love unknown,
My Saviour’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I,
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed-for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend,
My Friend indeed,
Who at my need
His life did spend?

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend,
In whose sweet praise
I all my days
Could gladly spend.

—Samuel Crossman