10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Galatians 3:10-11 English Standard Version


Anyone who depends on following the law to please God is under a curse. This is a pretty strong statement but it is undercut by the truth that the gospel of God’s grace in Christ frees us from the oppressive self-defeating efforts of earning and keeping our salvation.

The Apostle Paul tells Galatians if we crossed the line from resting on the flawless work of Christ to relying on our own fleshly efforts to obey the Law for our salvation, we actually put ourselves under the curse of the law.

What is the curse of the law?

It is the punishment of sin due to your failure to obey all the demands of the Law. Since there is no provision in the Law for the forgiveness of sin, there is nothing you can do to earn God’s pardon. When you attempt to live an upright life on your own efforts, doing good deeds and charitable acts, it is not enough to make yourself righteous. The Law is perfect holiness and man, on any attempt of our own, we are doomed to fail. This act of self-righteousness works against what Christ had done for you, and freely given to all, through His finished work on the cross.

You cannot measure your righteousness by keeping to any moral standard.

Trying to justify yourself by law-keeping and not believing you have been justified by faith is incompatible with the gospel of grace. God does not want you to live by a cold list of rules and regulations. God does not take pleasure when instead of relying on Jesus’s sacrifice, you rely and observe the old and obsolete covenant law of works to please Him. God has empowered you to please Him through a new covenant of grace based on an unbreakable relationship where He puts in your heart and mind the ability and purpose to live as Christ lived and walk as Christ walked (Hebrews 6:6).

It is Christ who provides the impetus to live rightly before God because He is the basis and perfecter of your faith. Instead of trying hard to obey God, why don’t you see your acts of obedience as the manifestations of grace through faith? Know in your heart that you have God’s favour to live a life of obedience that is perfectly plausible and tenable.

© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.