Made a "curse" for us


Does anyone care to expound on this:

Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:



Sonia, this by J Preston Eby, whom lent a hand in introducing me to the Greater Gospel, 27 years ago, wrote this. I hope it helps with your query.

" He who was without sin has paid the penalty for the sins of all who believe, therefore through faith we are absolutely without condemnation by the grace and verdict of the all-glorious God! This is why Paul cried out: “There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them that are IN CHRIST JESUS” (Rom. 8:1). Christ descended, first in the incarnation, secondly in the judgment of the cross, and thirdly into the darkness of Hades. He descended into the LOWEST PARTS OF THE EARTH (Eph. 4:9-10), into the deepest woe of mankind. The Son of God left His glory, and descended to the depths of shame and reproach. He came and took our place of disgrace. Our Lord was the Mighty God. But He descended from that state. He humbled Himself, and took upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh. He became despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. “For He hath made Him to be sin (a sin offering) for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21). “Sin for us,” not sinful, but a sin offering, taking unto Himself the whole sin of our race, one vast aggregate of sin, of all men, past, present, and future. He made our CONDITION His own. He made our DOOM His own. He tasted of what we are; experienced the pangs of the lowest hell into which men have sunken. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being MADE A CURSE for us” (Gal. 3:13). He descended into this!"

Bless you,



I think many see this verse as evidence for the “penal substitution” theory of the atonement because they have assumed that the “curse of the law” from which Christ is said to redeem us is the same “curse” that Paul says Christ became on our behalf. However, I think this assumption is incorrect. The “curse” that Christ became on our behalf denotes the public disapproval, reproach and shame he endured when he was crucified (see Heb 12:2; 13:12-13). It is this which the Jews associated with being “hanged on a tree” (which was evidently something done to only the most heinous of criminals after they were executed - Deut 21:23). However, the “curse of the law” from which Christ redeemed us is the “yoke of slavery” to which those who attempt to be justified by the law are inevitably subjected (see Gal 5:1), which is the major theme of Galatians.


Well said Aaron the “curse” and “cursed” are kind of a play on words as is the word sin" used twice, in the verse Eby uses in my message. Jesus was indeed cursed for us, as He descended into the lowest of positions and gave Himself to be crucified like a common criminal.

Truth be told, being of Adam we also actually cursed Jesus, as represented by the throng that called for His blood. The deepest of truths reveal, in this world there are but two men, the first Adam and the Last Adam. Corporately we find ourselves in both and both in us.

and how gloriously incredible is God’s plan and purpose in the making of the first Adam into the last Adam!

and how wonderfully, He hides the depth of Himself in the scriptures!



Yes, that’s what started me pondering on the meaning of the passage. I’m reading a little book by Piper called “The Passion of Jesus Christ,” which briefly discusses 50 reasons why Jesus died. The first is: “Jesus Christ suffered and died to absorb the wrath of God.” The first proof text cited is Galatians 3:13…however when I read it, I see nothing about at all about ‘wrath’ in that passage, or anywhere in Galatians, so I have to reject that verse as valid evidence for Piper’s point. (BTW, I was also unable to accept any of the “proofs” he listed.)

I feel I have a fairly decent understanding of the message Paul is conveying, it’s just this bit about a ‘curse’ that I can’t quite seem to get hold of. I appreciate everyone’s input.



*"And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:

His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance." - Deut. 21:22-23*

I find it interesting that the person is hanged on a tree AFTER he has been put to death, he didn’t die by the hanging, but must have been put to death in another fashion, presumably by stoning. The trial, judment, and execution have already been carried out. In this case, it is one who has committed a sin worthy of death, of which there are select number of specific sins for which this applies, according to the OT (according to one Torah study, the hanging is imposed for two offenses: blasphemy and idolatry). The implication is that the subject is not the one being shamed here, because he is already dead, but rather the body is hung as a testament of the crime; an example to the people of the heinous act this person committed, perhaps as a deterrent.

The body was taken down before sunset, it wasn’t permitted to be hung overnight, BECAUSE it is accursed by God. And according to another parsha commentary,

Even with the person committing the crime is made into a spectacle, as a creation of God made in His image the body was taken down.

As far as the application in Christ’s case, tghis doesn’t necessarily mean penal substitution. It could very well play into Jesus’ statement, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” - John 12:32 The idea here is that Jesus was a spectacle to behold, dead on a tree to be taken down before sunset as one who (supposedly) blasphemed God. Think about what it must have been like that evening. There was no expectation in the minds of the majority that He would rise again three days later, even among the disciples. Jesus died a shameful death in the eyes of everyone who witnessed it. I mean, think of what it did in terms of His claim of Messiahship. Just another hasbeen, a lunatic who tried to change the system…and failed. Cursed indeed.

But then, three days later… :wink:


Wonderful post Dondi !

One to be copied



The curse of the law was that the Jew was unable to keep the law due to his spiritual dead nature. The spiritual dead nature was the curse of all the curses. In other words, Jesus was made the curse ( spiritual death) for us so we can receive the life of God.

God bless,


The curse of the politically correct? That’s pretty lame.

The passage is very clear - He was cursed by the Law.

What was that curse? Death. Paul is being entirely consistent here. Christ died for all.


i don’t quite get the “curse” aspect, either, at least not from a traditional, evangelical view.

Isaiah 53:3-4 seems to speak to this more clearly :

He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.

cursed in the sense of being despised and rejected by men, and appearing to have been smitten or cursed by God for some crime. He was certainly blasphemed and mocked on the cross, and more than anything the Bible teaches that the Son’s death on the cross was an act of God’s love, not a means to focus His wrath. a God so full of wrath that He needs to pour it out through the crucifixion (seeing the crucifixion as a kind of anger therapy for the Father, instead of an instrument of His grace), sounds unlike the measured, wise, just, and merciful God we read about everywhere else in Scripture (including the Gospels and Pauline Epistles).


Thank you, Grace.

My Reformed friends would say that God needed to pour out His wrath on Christ, not as an ‘emotional’ thing, but as a fulfillment of the ‘justice’ necessary–or, perhaps: Every act of sin requires an equal and opposite reaction of ‘justice’ aka ‘wrath’. :sunglasses: But they don’t necessarily mean that God is ‘angry’ in the same sense that we get angry about things, it’s only that Justice requires Vengeance.

But I’d agree with your assessment–and I believe Aaron said much the same thing. As I ponder on this more, I wonder if there’s not a bit of “word play” going on here: Paul saying Christ became a ‘curse’ to save us from a ‘curse’–and then refers to the OT passage explaining his use of the word.



i wonder the same thing, Sonia. if there aren’t two kind of curse being written about here. the curse Christ became, and the curse of the Law and sin from which He’s saved us.