Galatians 3:10 reads: , “For as many as are of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’” Notice that it is necessary to continue in all things in order to avoid the curse. The problem is that many Christians are viewing life as a law-based scheme. They are attempting to please God, be acceptable to God and grow in their Christian life by keeping the law. This approach is doomed to failure as we shall see.
Paul begins his thought in Galatians 3:1. The first thing we read is that Paul appears somewhat frustrated by the fact that the Galatian Christians have been turned away from the truth. He appeals to the fact that the crucifixion of Christ had been clearly portrayed for them so that they would know what his death had accomplished. So he begins his detailed instruction with this question, “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?” The answer to the question should be obvious – by the hearing of faith. Salvation comes by faith alone. Trusting only in the promises God has made that those who receive and trust Christ will be eternally saved.
In verse 3 he asks another question. “Having begun in the Spirit are you now made perfect by the flesh?” The answer should obviously be “no”. So the teaching here is that we begin the Christian life by faith. It cannot be earned. It must simply be believed. Similarly, maturing in the faith is achieved the same way — by faith. It is not accomplished by the keeping of rules. Growth in the Christian life and growing in Christ-likeness is accomplished by faith and not by submitting to the law. In order to illustrate this point, Paul brings up Abraham in verse 6. He explains that Abraham believed God and it was counted as righteousness for him. God had just showed up at Abraham’s door one day and promised him some things and Abraham took God at his word. God counted this faith, this believing as righteousness for Abraham. These promises were made by God unconditionally. That means nothing was required of Abraham except to believe and receive those promises as a gracious gift from God.
In verse 7 he tells us then that those who are of faith (like Abraham was) are the sons of Abraham. God had promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed through him and verse 9 tells us the conclusion to this section: “Those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” That means that if you have placed your faith in the promises of God given through his Son, Jesus Christ, you are one of those blessed along with Abraham. There you have one of the key words of this study: “blessed”. You see, we began this study with the concept of the blessings and the curses of God. This then sets up the basis for the argument Paul is going to use in the rest of the chapter and it is an extremely crucial argument if you want to understand your relationship to the blessings and curses of God.
According to verse 10, what is the standard for avoiding the curse? If we’re under the law, the standard given there is that we must continue in all of the things written in the book of the Law. We’re not allowed to deviate from it to either side. We must hit the nail on the head every time. This is exactly the point in Deuteronomy 26:
“‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ ” “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:” (Deuteronomy 27:26–28:2, NKJV)
That leaves us in a precarious situation, doesn’t it? Not fulfilling every command leaves us under a curse. The blessing is for those who “observe carefully all His commands.” But carefully obeying every single command both in deed and attitude is not possible!