INTRO: It might surprise you to know that many people are living under a curse. A greater surprise—who they are: the religious, upright, decent, moral, etc.
Greatest surprise is how they got under the curse: THROUGH RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY, FAITHFUL OBSERVANCE OF RELIGIOUS DUTIES, ETC.
ENDEAVORING BY THESE TO PLEASE GOD AND GAIN ACCEPTANCE BEFORE HIM.
OUR TEXT DEALS WITH THE CENTRAL ISSUE: HOW TO GET RIGHTLY RELATED TO GOD.
AND there are many who answer this question, not only with their lips but with their lives…by faithfully doing all God tells us to do, by human effort and resolve.
vs. 10: Under a CURSE: God originally intended blessing for all men, but many have brought themselves under a curse, rather than blessing.
THE LAW: Primarily the LAW OF MOSES, TEN COMMANDMENTS, but the definite article is missing often, indicating LAW IN GENERAL… applies to any system of religion or salvation that seeks to supplement faith with works…
Church membership, Baptism, Lord’s Supper, etc….Often claim to be trusting in Christ alone but when they look for assurance of their salvation, they took to the fact they’ve joined church, faithful to activities, the MECHANICS OF RELIGION.
UNDER CURSE: MEANING: Alienation from God, living under the judgment of God, His wrath that will issue in final destruction.
WHY IS THE LAW A CURSE? Redefine living under the law — effort, work, doing, etc.
I. LIVING UNDER THE LAW SHUTS US IN Vs. 22, 23
CONCLUDED: To be shut up, to shut in on all sides. In Luke 5: 6, the net enclosing the fish.
PICTURE OF A JAILER in which men are confined and Scripture is the jailer that sees we don’t escape.
Vs. 23 . . . KEPT UNDER THE LAW –‘To keep with a military guard….the law is a jailer…
Confines us to the prison of sin, never letting us forget it. To hold is custody those who were in sin, so they would not escape the consciousness of their sins and their accountability at judgment.
HOW DOES THE LAW SHUT US IN THE PRISON OF SIN?
1. THE LAW IS THE MANIFESTATION OF GOD’S CHARACTER
The question, “How Can I be right with God” leads to another question. WHAT KIND OF GOD IS IT I’M TRYING TO FIND FAVOR WITH? This is extremely important.
If he is a sinful God like some of the pagan deities, I’m okay. WHAT KIND OF GOD IS HE?
THE LAW TELLS US WE’RE DEALING WITH A RIGHTEOUS AND HOLY GOD, WHO CANNOT LOOK UPON OR FELLOWSHIP WITH SIN IN ANY DEGREE.
Immediately this demands that we also be righteous.
(1) That God is Righteousness is revealed in the written law, the commandments.
These are simply an expression of the nature of God.
(2) That God is righteous is revealed in the unwritten law, the Conscience.
Man made in the image of God. Man’s innate sense of right and wrong, especially in children a sentivity to fairness…which decreases as grow older in sin…searing the conscience… OUR OWN SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG, imperfect as it is, REFLECTS GOD‘S RIGHTEOUS IMAGE in us.
* *Archeologist dig into the ruins of fallen civilizations, discover only a fragment, but that fragment proves the whole once existed.
LIKEWISE you can dig into the ruins of fallen human nature and discover, unearth a fragment of right and wrong. But that fragment proves the whole once existed.
Even these trying to do away with any moral code or standard . . . they are their own proof that there is an absolute moral law . . . because they base their campaign on WHAT’S FAIR, WHAT’S RIGHT. Even their perverted sense of right and wrong is a fragment that proves the whole once existed.
2. THE LAW IS THE MEASURE OF MAN’ S CHARACTER
RIDE AT SIX FLAGS: “You’ve got to be as tall as this sign.” Stand on tiptoes, etc.
GOD SETS US HIS LAW… You’ve got to be as tall as this.
Vs. 10,12– ALL THINGS. James 2:1O…offend in just one point.
SHALL NOT COVET: GOD DOESN’T GRADE ON CURVE! ENTRANCE EXAM. . . MISS ONE AND OUT!
II. THE LAW SHUTS US OUT OF SALVATION
1. WORKS RESCINDS, REMOVES GRACE OF GOD.
Rom. 4:16; 11:6
Salvation is the house that Grace built and only faith opens the door.
2. WORKS REJECT THE GIFT OF GOD.
Only we can escape our curse is through His curse for us. If works could do it, Jesus needn’t have died.
©Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2004