Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Advent Day 8: Jesus Came to Become a Curse

13 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” 
14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, 
so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. 
(Galatians 3:13-14 ESV)

We like measurable goals.  We're wired to want to know how we're doing by comparing ourselves to some standard.  Students are tested and given scores.  Employees are given performance reviews.  And, every statistic imaginable is used to evaluate college and professional athletes.  There are RBI's, slugging percentage, value over replacement, wins over replacement, efficiency ratings, and more acronyms than you can imagine.

All of these are tools used to evaluate performance.  We want tangible results, not gut feelings.  

And, if we're being honest, many of us would love to have statistics to apply to the Christian life; some way of measuring how we're doing.  We could come up with all kinds of ratings: APA (answered prayer average), or BCRD (Bible Chapters Read Per Day), or the Giving Index, or perhaps the Conversion percentage would measure how many people become Christians when we talk to them.

Of course, we view such nonsense as silly, but in reality we all slide into some form of this.  We cherry pick from the Bible things we tend not to struggle with and make it the gold standard for faithfulness.  All the while, we conveniently forget commands like, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" Matthew 22:37.  We know that's not achievable, so we focus on other things instead.  Read my Bible, check.  Prayed for a few minutes, check.  Memorized a verse, check.  Encourage someone today, check.

But, Galatians 3:10 does away with any hope we have of obeying any of God's Law, "For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”  In other words, if we don't obey every word of the Law then we're cursed.  It doesn't matter how well we do at just one part, Galatians says we have to obey all of it.  And, if we don't, we're cursed.

Therefore, you're cursed.  I'm confident, for example, that none of us can honestly say that we have loved God with all our being.  But, the good news of Christmas is that Jesus came to become a curse for you and for me.  He took our curse on himself on the cross so that we could receive the blessing of Abraham, the promise of the Spirit, and eternal life.  

Without the birth of baby Jesus, you would still be under the curse of the Law.  But, because he came down from heaven to become a curse, you can become a saint.

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