God’s cursing is a terrible thing. It is an utter and complete cursing penetrating every area of our life. Contrastingly, God’s blessing is an extravagant blessing that is overly abundant. The promise of God’s terrible curse remains on those who are not, by faith, in Christ. His covenant blessing, however, remains forever with those who trust in Christ’s atoning work. By faith, we can be redeemed by Christ from the curse of the law and one day fully inherit all the promises of blessing that is our hope.
We will one day truly stand before God, our Father, and he will lift up his countenance on us and make his face to shine upon us.
While the work of Christ becoming a curse is certainly sufficient for all mankind, it is by no mean effective for all mankind. Not everyone who is born into the human race experiences God’s blessing. In fact, because we are all born with a nature so sinful and corrupt, we are all under the wrath and condemnation of God until we come to faith in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 Paul writes:
“The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
When we first had faith in Christ is when the Holy Spirit first opened our eyes and we saw the glory of God in the face of Christ and said, “YES! I want you, Jesus!” Christ carried on him the full weight of our sin. When God looked on Christ as he hung on the cross he saw our sin, and in all righteousness, God condemned our sin in Christ. As Paul says in Romans 8:3-4:
“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Christ became a curse for us by taking on our sin. But this is not all that happened. Christ did not only take our sin, at the cross, we also take Christ’s righteousness. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21:
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
At the cross, two transactions took place. Christ took on our sin and we took on Christ’s righteousness. Because of this, Christ has already given us everything we need to be fully accepted by God. In Christ is the only place God may look upon sinful men with benevolent kindness. In Christ is the only place that God may make his face to shine upon us and we, in turn, experience the benefits of those blessings.
As New Covenant believers, the promises of blessing and cursing find their fulfillment for us in Christ. In Galatians chapter three, Paul applies Deuteronomy twenty-eight to the Galatian church:
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree,’ so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
As disobedient sinners, the righteous judgment and cursing of God is what we rightly deserve. It is what justice demands of our sin. But because Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross, Christ became cursed for us, the full wrath and judgment of God was poured out on Christ instead of on us, the demand of justice was satisfied in Christ. He became cursed of God in our place, so that we might enjoy the blessing of God.
Tomorrow, we will look at the blessings of God that we enjoy, but for now, we know that at the very least, through his work on the cross, Christ has secured God’s kindness and graciousness toward those who have faith in him. Now, because of Christ, God can look toward us; he does not have to hide his holy face from our sin. God can look toward us, and when he does, he can smile upon us. God can look on us with a pleasing satisfaction and joyful contentedness because, by faith, Christ became our curse and the source of our blessing.
In Deuteronomy twenty-eight, God promises blessing to Israel for their obedience. He says,
“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.”
The blessings that God describes shows a complete and extravagant blessing. Blessing in the city, the fields, with children, livestock, food, and over enemies. Whether Israel was coming or going, they would be blessed. However, for their disobedience, God promises cursing:
“But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.”
The cursing that God describes shows a complete and horrible cursing. Cursing in the city, the fields, with children, livestock, food, and defeat by enemies. Whether Israel was coming or going, they would be cursed with curses, confusion and frustration. One of the ways that Israel enjoyed the blessing of God was through its pronouncement upon them by their priests. The priest would face the congregated nation and, with outstretched arms, pronounce a prescribed benediction. Tomorrow, we will look in detail of this relates to God’s blessing and cursing.