What is the curse of the law in Galatians 3:10-13?

In this post, let us examine what the curse of the law is mentioned in Galatians 3:10-13. Let us discover the true meaning of the curse of the law, what it implies, and how we, as Christians, must respond.

“The law is a curse.”

You probably have heard that a lot of times from teachers and preachers who argue that the law of God has already been done away with — that we are no longer under the law and thus, we are free from doing whatever we want to do.

The primary verse people use to support their argument is Galatians 3:10-13, where it says:

10 For as many as are of the works 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.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).

From these verses, people draw misguided conclusions such as:

  • Anyone who follows the law would be under a curse.
  • The law of God is a curse.
  • We are justified by faith and there’s no need to perform the works of the law.

Are these conclusions accurate? Let’s investigate.

The first thing we must take note of is what Galatians 3:10-13 really says and not what it doesn’t say.

Undoubtedly, Paul mentioned the “curse of the law” in verse 13. However, what Paul didn’t say is that the law is the curse. What He was saying is that there’s a curse pronounced by the law, but the law was NEVER a curse itself!

Now, since there’s a curse of the law, who are those people who receive this curse?

The Apostle Paul gave us the answer in verse 10:

“Cursed is everyone who does NOT continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

Did you get that? Paul was saying that there’s a curse of the law and this curse is cast on those people who DOES NOT follow the law of God!

What popular Christianity teaches today completely missed the point of Paul. They are saying that those who keep the law will be under a curse. Yet, the Bible tells us something that is contrary to this popular belief!

Instead those people who keep the law will be under curse, Paul was saying that those who do not keep the law are the ones who are under a curse!

What a great difference!

So, what was the main point of Paul in Galatians 3:10-13?

His main point is that anyone who breaks the commandment and law of God is under a curse. Those who sin would be guilty and will incur the penalty of the law, which is death:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Death is the curse of the law.

Galatians 3:10 is actually quoted from Deuteronomy 27:26:

Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law by observing them.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ ”

Galatians 3:13 is reminiscent to Deuteronomy 21:22-23:

“If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.”

Everyone of us is like the man who has “committed a sin deserving of death” referred to these verses. Because of this, all of us deserve to be hung on a tree, suffer the death penalty, and become a “cursed” sinner.

Since we all sinned, we deserve the penalty or curse of the law, which is death. However, Jesus Christ or Yahshua perfectly kept the law and thus, He is not under the curse of the law. He didn’t deserve any death penalty.

Just like what Paul said in Galatians 3:13, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.” 

Instead of us, dying for our sins, Christ died for us. Yahshua “bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).

That’s the meaning of Galatians 3:10-13. As a summary, Paul was saying here that those people who don’t keep the law and transgress it will be under the curse of the law, which is DEATH. 

However, because of the great love of God for us, Yahshua came to die on our behalf. He bore the full penalty and curse of the law and died for us so that we might live for righteousness. 

Galatians 3:10-13 doesn’t and never says that we are not to keep the law of God anymore.