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 (Galatians 3:13).
It is no doubt possible by sufficient ingenuity to explain these words away: but their plain meaning is obvious enough. The Lord redeemed us from the curse of the law by taking that curse upon himself. And this was symbolized by the fact that the very death he died was under a curse in the Law.
To redeem—(exagorazo)—by payment of a price to recover from the power of another, to ransom, buy off; metaphorically of Christ freeing men from the dominion of the Mosaic law at the price of his vicarious death.
THAYER’S GREEK-ENGLISH LEXICON
The thought of the price that had to be paid for it must not be pushed too far into the background (cf. 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23, and Rev. 5:9). We must think of this passage in relation to what is said in other places of Scripture about ransoming (Matt. 20:28; 1 Tim. 2:6) and redeeming (“purchasing free”: Titus 2:14). A more particular thought is attached to this redeeming than simply that of the emancipation of a prisoner. At issue here is satisfaction of violated justice, as is evidence from the phrase: from the curse of the law. Behind the imagery employed, there very probably lies the old practice, circumscribed by the Jewish legal code, according to which ransom money could be paid for a forfeited life (cf. Exod. 21:30). According to this line of thought those who were under the curse were to be regarded not merely as prisoners but as persons appointed to die (cf. Deut. 27:15 ff and 30:15, 19). It is from this sentence of death that Christ has redeemed them by himself “becoming a curse” for them.
HERMAN N. RIDDERBOS
Curse Of The Law
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