May 14, 2022


Galatians 3:10-13

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

—  Galatians 3:13

The cross of Jesus is often featured in jewelry, sculpture, posters, logos, and other kinds of art. This symbol has become so common that we hardly ever think of its horror. In ancient times, though, crucifixion, or being hung on a pole, was a terrifying sentence of death for murderers, idol worshipers, sorcerers, and other convicted criminals. The guilty died a slow, agonizing death in public, and they were considered cursed by God (Deuteronomy 21:23).

Why does the Apostles’ Creed emphasize that Jesus died in this wretched way? Because the Bible teaches that Jesus’ death on the cross means he took on the curse of God for our sake. Jesus shouldered that burden for us.

In Galatians 3 the apostle Paul explains that people who try to live by the law (as given in the Old Testament) and fail to keep it are guilty. And of course no one except Jesus could keep the law perfectly. As Paul notes in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

We are all guilty before God, and we all deserve God’s judgment. But the good news is that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” through his death on a cross.

Next time you see a cross, wherever it may be, pause and think about the magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

Jesus, our Lord and Savior, you took on the dreadful curse of sin for us and set us free. Help us to live for your praise and glory. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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