All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them." 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 tree." He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (NIV)
1. Paul states that everyone who relies "on observing the law" is "under a curse," and he quotes Deuteronomy 27:26: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." He also says, "the law is not based on faith." Many people today say that by faith in Jesus we can keep the law--Jesus in us keeps the law. Do you agree with this claim? Why or why not? Are faith and keeping the law related? What does Christ in us accomplish?
2. Paul continues by pointing out that if we focus on keeping the law, we have to live with the law's consequences if we fail to keep it. We are not living by faith, he says, if we attempt to perfect our law-keeping. What does Paul mean when he says, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us"? Does He redeem us by keeping the law for us? Does He redeem us by helping us keep the law? Or does He redeem us by breaking the power of the law?
3. This passage does not say that Jesus became our example or that he gives us His power to help us keep the law. Instead it says He became a curse for us. How did he become a curse? What is the significance of that claim? How could Jesus's becoming a curse redeem us?
4. What was "the blessing given to Abraham" mentioned in verse 14? How did Jesus's redemption of us cause that blessing to come to the Gentiles?
5. When Jesus became a curse for us He took onto Himself every one of our sins and scars. He took not only the sins we have committed but the ones committed against us. He became the curses that were meant to destroy us, and He offered us life instead. What curses do you have in your life that you need to relinquish to Jesus? What pain or sin do you need to release in faith that He has already borne it and longs to replace it with peace in your heart?
6. Verse 14 says, "He redeemed us in order that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." Satan boldly claims places of wounding or pain or rebellion in our hearts. But the Holy Spirit can break his claim and bring healing to those wounds and replace our despair with joy. What claims does Satan make on you that you wish to have the Holy Spirit heal? What needs do you have that you wish the group to pray about for you?
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