Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A simple explanation about "the curse of the law"

Someone recently wrote to our website with this comment: "I have a question on Gal. 3:10. My grandson insists that this verse means that if we keep His commandments we are under a curse. Do you have a simple explanation to refute that servants of Torah are still under a curse?"

OUR RESPONSE:

This was a really great question that has surely plagued others, and so we sent this person our article entitled, Let’s talk for a moment about that “under a curse” thing, and offered the following as further information:

Bottom line upfront: Paul is very hard to understand. However, the answer to this "under a curse" situation is really very simple.

First, look who Paul is writing to. The congregations in Galatia, Galatians 1:2. Why is he writing to them? Because they have already fallen away from faith in the Messiah and had been confused and challenged by men who do not believe in the Messiah (1:6-7). What does Paul say about these teachers?

He says they "are men who agitated you and desired to pervert the Good News of Mashiyach" (1:7), and that these men "preach outside from what was preached to you, let them be cursed. ... Whichever man preaches to you outside of what you have received, let him be accursed" (1:8-9).

Now, read Galatians 3 with this in mind, but first, understand that Torah says: "A curse on anyone who does not confirm the words of this Torah by putting them into practice"  (Deuteronomy 27:26).

In Galatians 3, Paul is teaching (again) that righteousness does not come through "works", rather, that righteousness is through faith, and faith is demonstrated by works (Galatians 3:2-6). Then, referring to Deuteronomy 27:26, Paul says in 3:10 "For those who are servants of Torah are still under a curse, for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not act on all that is written in this book of Torah.”

Paul goes on through the rest of Galatians 3 to explain that he's talking about those very men whom he mentioned back in Galatians 1:7; that those men are cursed because they teach Torah, but they do not live by Torah!

Read the way Paul puts it in Romans 2: "13. For not the hearers of Torah are righteous before Elohim; but the doers of Torah are being made righteous. 14. For if Gentiles who have not Torah will, by their nature, do the things of Torah; they, while without Torah, become a Torah to themselves. 15. Additionally, they show the work of Torah as it is inscribed on their hearts; and their conscience bears testimony to them, their own reflections rebuking or vindicating one another." (Romans 2:13-15)

But about the Torah-teachers he says:

"17. But if you who are called a Jew, and rely yourself on Torah and glory in Elohim, 18. (And further that you think) that you know His good pleasure and discern obligations because you are instructed in Torah; 19. And (that Elohim) has confidence in yourself, that you are a guide to the blind, and a light to them who are in darkness, 20. And an instructor of those lacking knowledge, and a preceptor to the young; and you have the appearance of knowledge and of verity in Torah (then what do you all say to the following):

21. You therefore, who teach others, teach you not yourself? And you who teach that men must not steal, do you steal? 22. And you who say, “Men must not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? And you who condemn idols, do you plunder the sanctuary? 23. And you who glory in Torah, don’t you, by acting contrary to Torah, insult Elohim himself? (Romans 2:17-23)

So, there you have it. When Paul says in Galatians 3:10 that those who are servants of Torah are still under a curse  [that is, they demand serving Torah, but they are not living by Torah], it is because they, themselves, don't live by Torah as true servants for YHWH.  (Refer back to Deuteronomy 27:26, which says:  26 "'A curse on anyone who does not confirm the words of this Torah by putting them into practice.'All the people are to say, 'Amen!')

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