Saturday, February 23, 2008

"REDEEMED FROM THE CURSE" (According to the Bible)

One of the most popular doctrines in our circles has to do with the believer being 'Redeemed from the curse of the law' (Galatians 3:13).  This particular doctrine was first taught by a former medical doctor---turned preacher, Lillian B. Yeomans, somewhere around 1930 and then made popular through the teaching ministry of  Kenneth E. Hagin (left) in the 70's.  The doctrinal basis is scriptural, but the verse on which it is based was taken way out of context and the true revelation of Paul's message in Galatians chapter 3 is all but lost in this widespread misinterpretation.

Allow me to summarize the modern misinterpretation as it is (or has been) taught by nearly every well known 'Word of Faith' preacher of our generation---plus many not-so-well-known, such as myself  (I know how easy it is to merely parrot someone for whom you have great respect, instead of 'searching the scriptures to see if these things be so') (Acts 17:11).

"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') that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." --Galatians 3:13-14

It's taught that the "curse of the law", from which we have been redeemed, along with the "blessing of Abraham" which comes upon us (who believe) are fully outlined in Deuteronomy, Chapter 28, as Moses was presenting the law to the children of Israel...

"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.
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out..."
--Deut. 28:1-6

Thus, begins a long list of 'blessings' which are referred to, by the previously mentioned teachers, as the "blessings of Abraham".  This list of 'blessings' continue on through verse 13 and include every type of  prosperity, health, favor with all people (including enemies), etc.
So essentially, Deuteronomy, Chapter 28, verses 1-13 comprise (according to Lillian Yeomans' interpretation) what Galatians 3:14 calls, "the blessing of Abraham"; and anyone who has put his faith in Jesus, has the right to claim these 'blessings' by faith, and walk in them as well.

Beginning in verse 15 of Deut. 28, and continuing all the way through verse 68, we read of a ton of curses which would be the result of disobedience to the law.  Everything having to do with poverty, sickness, despair, failure---even mold and mildew---unfaithfulness of spouses, marital break-ups, etc., are listed.  Many specific diseases are listed, along with "every sickness and every plague, which is NOT written" therein (Ch. 28, Vs. 61).

The whole idea behind this teaching is that if Christ 'redeemed us from the curse of the law' then all of these 'curses' that are listed no longer apply to the believer.  When someone comes down with a certain disease, in other words, then the one who is praying for that person would base his prayer on the idea that this disease is 'under the curse of the law', and since we have been 'redeemed from the curse of the law' we have basis for our faith that this person will be healed.

Before I go further, let me make myself exactly clear on something....

Without a shadow of a doubt, the born again believer does indeed have a scriptural basis for faith that Jesus has provided for our healing and deliverance from every form of sickness, disease, poverty, despair, etc., through His redemptive accomplishment at Calvary...  As a matter-of-fact, we have MUCH scriptural basis for that.  But the Word on which we stand, for healing and deliverance, is NOT Deuteronomy Chapter 28.  On the contrary...

Deuteronomy 28 represents the 'curse' from which we have been delivered.  Let me explain, in the same way, I believe, the Holy Spirit explained it to me...

If the Lord approached you today, and said, "I have a deal to offer you...  From now on, the answers to your prayers for healing, deliverance, prosperity, etc., will NOT be 'according to your faith' in the FINISHED work of Jesus.  If you are to be healed, for example, your healing will be based on whether or not you have 'hearkened diligently to the voice of the Lord your God and successfully OBEYED ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS (Deut. 28:1,15).  If you have not, then healing will not be yours... On the contrary, ALL the curses listed, will come upon you until you are destroyed.  Or... You can remain in the grace provided at Calvary and walk totally in the faith you have placed in Christ's finished work of redemption...  Which do you want?"

For me, there would be no question.  I wouldn't have to think about it---not even for a moment.

Here's the real deal...

The 'curse of the law' (notice he does not say 'curses') is the law itself, not individual 'curses' resulting from disobedience to that law.  Reference is made to only one 'curse' and again, that 'curse' is the law, as a means of righteousness.  If people would read more than one or two verses of Galatians Chapter 3, they would see that...  

The law itself is good, but when the law was given, it ministered death to the hearers (2 Cor. 3:6).  And though, Jesus did not 'do away' with the law, He DID put (or 'become') an end to the law FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Romans 10:4).  So the reason we can truthfully say that the 'curse of the law' is the law itself (as a means of obtaining righteousness), is simply this...  No one has the ability to successfully obey the law and thereby stand before the Father in righteousness. Therefore, because of that fact, no one who relies on the 'Deut. 28' system will ever qualify for the 'blessings' listed in Deut. 28.

What I am saying here, is further explained and/or summarized thus:  "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" --Galatians 3:10.

So please...

Don't offer me the system of works outlined in Deuteronomy 28 in order to get me healed.  That system was a curse to the most holy of those who were under it.  They could NOT obey the law, so it was NOT good news, it was a curse.  But you and I have indeed, been redeemed from that curse, in order that we might be partakers of the 'blessing' (not 'blessings') of Abraham; which is righteousness, through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  This is actually what qualifies us for answered prayer... And it is through faith alone in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ at Calvary.  Don't give me Deut. 28---give me Matthew 8:17 or 1 Peter 2:24.  Don't tell me that my healing or any other blessing depends on my perfect obedience to the law---I'll never see those blessings.  Tell me what Abraham told me, and what he tells you...

"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven.  And whose sins are covered;  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin." --Romans 4: 7-8
 

3 Comments:

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Said!

 
At 12:37 PM, Blogger Tom & Bev Springer said...

Yeah sir! we is delivered from the curse and all that it was. I pushed that point so much in the last few years I started to sound like a broken record. "Which side of the cross" was about that. You have made it even clearer.
Hey! Love you

Tom

 
At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it sad that Christians walk around quoting favorite scripture verses but do not have an integrated understanding of "Old" and "New" Testament. This lack of in depth solid teaching leading to understanding has kept us from being effective in our own lives. Who wants that life of sickness, poverty and failure -- says anyone watching -- and they are all watching. For example, clarification of these scriptures narrows our focus to the sacrifice the Father required, and how it was fulfilled in our Messiah.

 

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