The Curse of Christ
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.”
The apostle Paul wrote this to Galatian churches who were struggling with the notion that they did not have to obey the Old Testament Law of Moses any more due to being under the New Testament Law of Christ. Today’s verse is just one of many points Paul is making towards that end, namely, that the Law of Moses was taken out of the way and replaced with the New Covenant when Christ died on the cross (Eph. 2:14-16; Col. 2:13-17; Heb. 9:15-17).
Beyond that, let’s think of the huge ramifications of Paul’s statement that Christ “became a curse for us.” As scriptural proof of that statement, he cited Deuteronomy 21:22-23, the statement in the Law of Moses which pronounced a curse on any criminal hung to death on a tree. While Christ was not hung from a tree with a noose around his neck, that cross was made of wood and he hung there in the agony of crucifixion, thereby becoming a curse. It is for this reason that God turned his back on his own Son, causing the Son to cry out in anguished spiritual agony: “‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matt. 27:46).
What will make the curse of eternal hell so terrible is that God will not be there (2 Thess. 1:9), for God cannot have anything to do with sin (Is. 59:2). Christ went through that on the cross…and he did it for us. The apostle wrote, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ was cursed…for us. He tasted hell…for us.
That’s how much he loves us.