2008-10-25 - Heidelbery 10.3
Heidelberg Catechism Series, Part 23
Galatians 3:10, For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the Law, to perform them.'
Question 10.3: Will God suffer such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?
Answer: By no means, but is terribly displeased with our original as well as actual sin, and will punish them in his just judgment temporally and eternally, as He hath declared, 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 gives us a quote from Deuteronomy 27:26. It tells us that if we are living under the Law of God, we are cursed. We can't keep it. The simple truth is that we can't expect to be living under the Law of God or by the Law of God for our merits or His favor, and have His blessing. If we are seeking to have peace with God by our works, we are under God's curse. We can't expect to be under God's curse and blessing at the same time. Thus, anyone who is trying to earn God's favor by living a decent, respectable life is actually cursed by God. These are not my words. These are God's words, and they cut us deeply, because we want to have some part - even just a small part - of God's accepting us. For us to earn God's acceptance, we must continue (this means always do) in all things (this means always doing what is right) that God commands. We can't do it. We know we can't do it. Our only hope is to look to a source outside of ourselves to fulfill the Law for us. Our only hope is Christ.
Let us take one thought here and briefly examine it. Even if we did nothing wrong, but failed to do always what is right, we fail to keep God's Law. Omission of anything good that we should do is just as wicked as the commission of anything bad we shouldn't do. If we have omitted, at any time, to love the Lord our God with the entire force of our being - all we are - the result is very simple: guilty. If we have ever omitted to love our neighbor as ourselves we have the same outcome: guilty. Not to obey is to disobey. This seems to close the door on any hope we might have of gaining God's acceptance by our works. Pleasing God by our doing is the sweetheart hope of many, and it is delusion. This is a very sweeping matter for us. If we have kept God's commands in many things, but transgressed in one point, we have become guilty of all, and are under God's curse, James 2:10.
What a blessing it is that Christ has taken our curse upon Himself. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us, Galatians 3:13. The first part of what was said today should make us feel very uneasy, but this ought to make us smile and dance with joy. Christ has redeemed those who have believed in Him. He has become our substitute by taking our failings, our sin and our wickedness upon Himself. He became our curse, and the wrath of the Father was poured out upon Him in our place. Whosoever believes in Him, and His free offer of grace and forgiveness for our not keeping God's Law, is now vindicated before God. Christ stood in the place of the sinner, and paid his/her penalty. This is the Christians glorious hope. It is founded in Christ, and because of Christ's sacrifice, we are no longer found under the curse.
Soli Deo Gloria,