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THE CURSE FELL ON CHRIST!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, April 26, 2004

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).


I am drawing the main points of the sermon from Spurgeon’s “Christ Made a Curse For Us” (The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim, 1976, volume xv, p. 301). I will edit and simplify Spurgeon’s message.

This verse brings out the deeper meaning of Christ’s crucifixion. It shows us that the law of God curses us all, and that we can only be justified through faith in Christ. Our text leads us to a clear understanding of the curse of the law and our salvation in Christ.  

I. First, what is the curse of the law?

It is the curse of God. God made the law. And God gave the penalty for breaking it. Lost people are lawbreakers, subject to the wrath of the Lawgiver, God. It is not just the curse of the law itself. It is the curse of God, the Lawgiver, who strongly defends His laws. Therefore you can be sure that the curse of the law is correct and morally unavoidable. It is not possible that our just and righteous God would send a curse on humanity unless it was right to do so. The curse must be necessary for the preservation of the universe and the manifestation of God’s holiness.

There is something so terrible in the very idea of God pronouncing a curse, that my blood curdles at it, and I cannot express myself very clearly. Great sorrow and anguish lie in that curse. It involves the second death – being cast into the Lake of Fire – which John foresaw in Revelation 20:14. Nahum says,

“The Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies” (Nahum 1:2).

Then think how terrible it is when God pours out His curse. Remember the accursed day when the waters in the firmament came down and all flesh was swept away, except the few who were hidden in the ark – when sea-monsters dwelt in the palaces of ancient kings, when millions of sinners drowned, when universal ruin spread over a shoreless sea vomited from the mouth of death. Then was the curse of God poured out upon the earth.

Look again, farther down in time. Stand with Abraham at the door of his tent, and see in the east the sky all red with a glare that came not from the sun. Sheets of flames went up to heaven, which were met with showers of more vivid fire, which preternaturally descended from the skies. Having given themselves up to strange flesh, Sodom and Gomorrah received the curse of God, and a curse of fire rained on them from Heaven until they were utterly consumed.

If you would see another form of the curse of God, remember that bright son of the morning, one of the chief angels of God. Think how he lost his high position when a curse fell on him for his sin. See how an archangel became an archfiend, and Satan fell from his lofty throne, banished forever from peace and happiness, to wander through dry places, seeking rest but finding none, reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the last day. Such was the curse that it withered that angel into a devil. It burned up cities of the plain. It drowned the population of the world.

But you still do not have the full idea. There is a place of horror, a land of darkness and flames. There lost souls are for ever banished from God and from all hope of peace or restoration. If you could walk the gloomy corridors wherein damned spirits are confined, you would then with chilled blood, your hair standing up on your flesh, learn what is meant by the curse of God.

Being cast into eternal Hell is the most terrible curse of all. It consists of being forever separated from God, from light, from hope. Everlasting destruction is a fruit of the curse of the law.

Oh unhappy people! Unhappy people! You who are under God’s curse today may laugh, and drink, and dance, but if God’s curse is on you, what madness possesses you! If you could only see it, this curse would fill you with horror, to realize

“…that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field… Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out” (Deuteronomy 28:15-19).

How can you rest with such curses hanging over you? Oh! most miserable people – who pass from this life under God’s curse! One might weep tears of blood to think of them! Do not continue in the lostness of your sin, lest your soul be condemned to hold perpetual companionship with them in the grief of their cursed state.

II. Second, who are under this curse?

All nations that dwell on the earth are under this curse. Earlier in Galatians 3 we read,

“Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10).

Every one who does not continue to do everything in the law at all times, without ever failing, is under God’s curse according to Galatians 3:10. Idolatry, adultery, theft, murder, covetousness are all evil, because they break God’s law. Every sinful thought breaks God’s law, which says,

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37).

Jesus called this the “first and great commandment” of the law (Matthew 22:38). It is such a great commandment of the law, that it is repeated in Deuteronomy 13:3; 30:6; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30,33; and Luke 10:27.

Every person who breaks any part of God’s law at any time comes under the dreadful curse of God, for

“Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10).

If there was ever a time when you didn’t love God with all your heart, you are under this curse from God. If ever an evil thought turned over in your heart, you are under this curse from God.

I say that every unconverted person in this church tonight has broken God’s law some way, some time. You have thought and done things you are ashamed of. You have broken God’s law. You are under God’s curse. You are as much under the curse of God as Cain was. You are in a horrible condition in the sight of God. And you cannot “fix things up” by starting to do good! Oh, no! You have already broken God’s law! You are already under God’s curse. No good work you do now can help you to escape the curse that hangs over you – and will damn you at the Judgment. Heavy judgment awaits you! You are under a curse!

III. Third, how can Christ deliver you from this curse?

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).

The center of Christianity lies in the doctrine of “substitution.” A large part of those who call themselves Christians are not Christians at all, because they have not known or received Christ’s “substitutionary” sacrifice for their sin.

Christ died in your place on the Cross. The curse of God for your sin was placed on Him there.

“My righteous servant [shall] justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11).

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

When Christ bled, suffered and died on the Cross, He became your substitute. Our text makes it clear,

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

The pure and sinless Lamb of God was made a curse for you when all your sins were actually laid on Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. And Christ, cursed by your sins, went through a violent flogging and bloody crucifixion to pay the penalty for them.

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).

Your sins were lifted off of you and placed upon Christ. The curse of disobedience to God’s law was lifted from you and placed on Him. He was cursed for your sins on the Cross! Your sin and the curse for your sin were imputed to Christ as He hung on the tree! He took your place, and paid the price for your curse, by His sacrificial death in your place.

“He was bruised for our iniquities…and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“He is the propitiation for our sins” (I John 2:2).

The judgment of God falls on Christ in your place. The curse falls on Jesus, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

Believe in Jesus and He takes the curse of God off of your shoulders and bears it on His own – on the Cross.

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).

What must you do? Believe on Jesus. He that believeth is justified from all things. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). Believe in Jesus and the curse of sins falls away – washed clean by His precious Blood.

None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good! See, He hangs on the Cross; His arms are open wide, and He cannot close them, for they are nailed to the wood. His arms are open to receive you and save you. His heart has room for you. It was pierced with a spear – it streams forth blood and water to cleanse your sins.

A simple act of faith will bring you to Jesus. Say, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24) and come to Him tonight. If you do not come, it will be your own fault when judgment falls on your head. Accept Christ as your substitute. Oh, do it now, this moment!

Do not look for some feeling.  Look to Jesus only.  It is postmodern to look for some proof in yourself.  You do not need to feel that the curse of sin is removed.  God is the one who needs to feel that!  Trust Jesus, and not your own feelings!  Our Baptist forefather, John Bunyan, was miserable for months, looking for some proof of salvation in himself.  At last the thought came to him, "My salvation is in Heaven."  He meant that the forgiveness of his sin was something  God saw in Heaven, not in himself.  His salvation was in Christ, not in a feeling or impression or earthly proof.  His salvation was not in a doctrine either!  Not in believing something about Christ!  Oh, no!  He said, "My righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself."  His only hope of salvation lay in Jesus Christ who is in Heaven.  That is the way to trust Jesus!  That is the way to be saved from sin! 

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Galatians 3:10-13.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness” (by Nicolaus Zinzendorf, 1700-1760;
translated by John Wesley, 1703-1791).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE CURSE FELL ON CHRIST!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).

I. First, what is the curse of the law? Revelation 20:14; Nahum
1:2; Deuteronomy 28:15-19.

II. Second, who are under this curse? Galatians 3:10;
Matthew 22:37-38; Deuteronomy 13:3; 30:6;
Mark 12:30, 33; Luke 10:27.

III. Third, how can Christ deliver you from this curse?
Isaiah 53:11, 6, 5; I John 2:2; Acts 16:31; Mark 16:16;
Mark 9:24.