Question: What Does Galatians 3:10 Actually Mean When It Says “Cursed Is Everyone Who Is Under The Law?”
Donald Bohanon: Paul actually answers the question partially in 1 Corinthians 7:19. What Paul is talking about is the law of rituals that were apart of the old covenant like the law of circumcision. The sacrificial law, etc.
What Paul is saying as is clearly outlined in 1 Corinthians 7:19 the law of circumcision and some other old covenant laws including the sacrificial law, don’t matter and are done away with. But he emphasizes in the same verses the ten commandments must be kept.
1 Corinthians 7:19
King James Version (KJV)
19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
The term law mentioned in Galatians 3:10 is in relation to the commandments (which still must be kept) and all of the specific past old covenant laws that have been abolished. Many of the Jews, for instance, rejected Christ as the Messiah so instead of believing the shed blood of Christ sacrifice cleanses their sins, after praying for forgiveness, when they stumble.
Some instead, at that time, still relied on the shed blood of lambs and sheep to wash away their sins. And because of it, they would be under a curse because the shed blood of lambs is no longer sufficient to atone for sin. And was always a temporary practice until Christ’s sacrifice was fulfilled and the new covenant established.
Only the shed blood of Christ can atone for sin. The same thing applied to other aspects of the old covenant laws, to avoid falling under the curse outlined in scripture because of not adhering to every aspect of those old covenant laws without breaking them ( something that would be difficult to do without the Holy Spirit).
While rejecting Christ as the sin sacrifice they would be under a curse because they wouldn’t rely on Christ sacrifice to atone for the sin of breaking those old covenant laws (and because they rejected Christ as the sacrifice they also wouldn’t receive the Holy Spirit and therefore would be incapable of righteousness in accordance with God’s standards, so transgression would be inevitable) so they would still be under sin. And thereby cursed.
Also being cursed because of the law of punishment which included the death penalty which accompanied sin under the old covenant. Notice, Paul emphasizes later in Galatians 3: 13 “cursed is every one who hangeth on a tree.” Which is referencing the death penalty because of sin under the old covenant.
That death penalty in many cases resulted in the crucifixion of the guilty. Hence the reference “cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” and or is crucified. If you still cling to the standards of the old covenant you would also still be subject to the death penalty that accompanied it.
The Scribes and the Pharisee would be classic examples. Men who would teach strict adherence to old covenant laws, and the ordinances of men/commandments of men, many of those laws they would regularly break. While having no way to atone for the breaking of those laws because they rejected Christ as the sacrifice for those sins.
Because they would have no faith that praying to God and asking for forgiveness in (Christ’s name) after they sinned would wash away the sin. You are under a curse because you are still in sin because you have rejected the sacrifice that made atonement for that sin.
They would be under a curse because of a lack of faith. Because they didn’t believe praying to God and asking for forgiveness in (Jesus’ name) would cleanse them of the sin. So they would still be in a sinful state and thereby cursed.
Galatians 3:10 doesn’t mean we are not to keep God’s commandments which God, Christ, Paul, and every other disciple emphasize must be kept. Strict adherence to the commandments and word of God as a whole (with the exception of some of the old covenant laws which have been abolished) still applies to all those who are sincere in committing there lives to Christ.
And the death penalty for many of the abominable sins will also still apply when judged by God if not repented of Romans 1:26-32, Romans 1:32. It just means you must believe if you break any aspect of the commandments or word of God and it’s requirements, if you stumble on occasion, you must have faith when asking God in prayer for forgiveness (in Jesus name) that you have been forgiven.
And the sin is then washed away by Christ shed blood. If not you would still be in sin and under a curse because none of your sins would then be forgiven. Faith that Christ has forgiven you after you ask for forgiveness is critical and necessary to receive forgiveness.
Because strict adherence to the law does not atone for past sin or future stumbling only faith in the sacrifice of Christ can do that. Now we are not to sin willfully or view grace as a license to sin. This is not to suggest that Christ’s sacrifice is a license to sin. Because it’s not. And thinking that way and the resulting rebellion, sin, and or hypocritical behavior that it results in, can and will result in destruction when judged.
Romans Chapter 6, Hebrews 6:6-8, Hebrews 10:26-31. As is emphasized in Hebrews 6:6-8, and Hebrews 10:26-31 “if we willfully sin (emphasis on willfully)) after the knowledge of the truth there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin only a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which will destroy the adversaries.”
In preceding verses, it later goes on to emphasize that “he that despised the law of Moses/ the commandments died without mercy under two or three witnesses. How much sorer punishment suppose ye shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing and done despite the spirit of grace?”
In other words, what’s being emphasized is the hating of God’s commandments while using grace as an excuse for breaking them, or rebelling against them, is worthy of destruction. Once again, as is emphasized throughout scripture, the breaking or hate of God’s commandments and word as a whole leads to destruction. Over and over and over in different books of the Bible, we see this point is emphasized.
The Bible also says there are many false ministers and others who are using grace as a license to sin and they were before ordained to condemnation/destruction because they deny or reject Jesus Christ evidenced by their sinful behavior. Also, notice Titus 1:14-16 and how it supports Jude:4 and vice versa.
In other words, you can deny /reject God and Christ by your sinful behavior and or evil works. And that’s what’s being emphasized in Jude:4 also. By using grace as a license to sin willfully you would, in essence, be denying God and Christ. Which in turn results in destruction or condemnation which is also emphasized in Hebrews 6:6-8, Hebrews 10:26-31.
Rejecting Christ’s sacrifice as atonement for past sin and future inadvertent sin, and believing that keeping the law alone, the commandments included, would be sufficient without asking for forgiveness when you stumble is how you are cursed because you would still then be under sin and the death penalty.
Because you view strict adherence to the law, which at some point you may break, while rejecting Christ sacrifice as atonement for your sin because of disbelief/faithlessness, you would still have to pay for the transgression because you rejected the atonement that paid the penalty for it.
And you are thereby cursed because you are still guilty of it. Also being cursed because of the law of punishment which included the death penalty which accompanied sin under the old covenant. The commandments and word of God are instructions for righteous living not atonement for sin. Christ’s sacrifice can only atone for sin.
But faith in Christ’s sacrifice as it relates to sin atonement, receiving the Holy Spirit when you pray for it, after fulfilling Christ’s and God’s requirements to receive it, etc, are all based in faith. And all of it points back to faith in Christ’s sacrifice..John 14:15-17.