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CHRIST REDEEMED US FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, 27th Week of the Year, October 12, 2012
Gal. 3:7-14, Ps. 110, Luke 11:15-26


"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us-for it is written, ‘Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree'-" (Gal. 3:13).


St. Paul's letter to the Galatians is very important because it expresses with great clarity the essence of the gospel that the Church preaches, and the above verse is one of the most important verses in this letter. It contains the very heart and core of the gospel message of salvation in Christ, namely that Christ redeemed us by his death on the cross from the curse of the law for our sins.


We are all under the curse of the law, because we all sin and fail to perfectly follow God's law and will. The law says, "Cursed be he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them" (Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10). Since we are all under this curse for our disobedience, God sent us a Savior, his Son Jesus Christ, to redeem us from this curse by himself "having become a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13), hanging from a cross. The curse that was ours, he took upon himself on the cross, and he bore it for us. He took our part.


This curse is the death of the sinner for his sins. Death entered the world because of sin, as its punishment. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die" (Gen. 2:17). "Sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned" (Rom. 5:12). "The soul that sins shall die" (Ezek. 18:20). "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23).


Christ therefore died on the cross, taking onto himself our punishment for our sins-death. He suffered the death sentence of a criminal. His death was the punishment of a criminal. Yet he was without sin. It was for our sins that he died. "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3). He accepted our punishment (death) for our sins on our behalf instead of us on the cross. He accepted our curse (death for sin) to shield us from it, absorbing it into himself, "having become a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13).


God put our sins on Jesus to serve our death sentence for them on our behalf instead of us, and thus justify us. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21).


Hanging on the cross, suffering the death sentence due for our sins, Christ made reparation and satisfaction for all the sins of the world. Thus did he fulfill and satisfy divine justice. His death was the punishment for all our sins. Therefore we do not have to suffer it. We are saved from it if we believe in him. This punishment was paid in full by him on the cross on our behalf, and so he made reparation for all our sins when we believe in him. Christ "was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification" (Rom. 4:25). His death on the cross was his great act of righteousness, satisfying divine justice and thus justifying us. "As one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal for all men" (Rom. 5:12). "One man's act of righteousness" (Rom. 5:12) is Christ's death on the cross in payment for our sins. Therefore those who believe in Christ are redeemed and justified through his death on the cross, our eternal death is cancelled, and our death transformed into a portal of eternal life.

 

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