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From Curse to Blessing

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Part 6 of 20: Identification

By Derek Prince

You're listening to a Derek Prince Legacy Radio podcast.

Description

When Jesus died on the cross, He took all the evil consequences due to the rebellion of the whole human race. One aspect of that has to do with curses and blessings. Because Christ was made sin for us, He was also made a curse. Why? So that we could partake of all the blessings.

Identification

Transcript

It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week sharing with you Keys to Successful Living which God has placed in my hand through many years of personal experience and Christian ministry.

In my talks this week I’ll continue with the theme which I have chosen for this Easter Season and which I commenced last week: Identification. I believe it will help you to understand more clearly the significance of the death of Jesus and to enter more fully into all that He obtained for us by His death.

But first, let me say thank you to those of you who’ve been writing to me. Before I finish this talk, we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So please take time to write, even if it’s only a brief personal note.

Now, back to our theme: Identification. To identify with someone means to make yourself one with someone. This concept of identification is the key to a true understanding of the Easter message. There are two sides to this process of identification, like the two opposite sides of a single coin.

On the one side, Jesus identified Himself with us, with sinners, with the whole fallen human race. On the other side, we are invited to identify ourselves with Jesus in all that followed His death, that is, burial, resurrection, and even ascension to the very throne of God.

The key verse of Scripture that opens up for us this theme of identification is Isaiah, Chapter 53, Verse 6, which prophetically foreshows the atoning death of Jesus.

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him [that’s Jesus] the iniquity [or the rebellion] of us all.” (NIV)

So, when Jesus died on the cross, God made to meet together upon Him the rebellion of the whole sinful fallen human race. Not only the rebellion, but all the evil consequences that follow from rebellion, they all came upon Jesus. God made them meet together upon Him, the rebellion of previous generations. Through an act which transcended the limitations of time, all these were laid upon Jesus and He died as our personal representative. He died our death to deliver us from rebellion and all its evil consequences. So in that one act, foreordained by God, all the evil that was due to all of us, came upon Jesus that all the good that was due by eternal right to Jesus might be made available to us. That’s the essence of the exchange. The evil due to us came upon Jesus that the good due to Jesus might be available to us. I want you to think continually in terms of a divinely ordained exchange.

In my talks at the end of last week, I dealt with specific aspects of this divinely ordained exchange that was accomplished through the death. I mentioned two specific aspects. First, Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven, that we might have peace. The punishment due to our sins came upon Jesus that we might have forgiveness and peace with God. Second, Jesus was made sin for us that we might have His righteousness. The exchange there is between sin and righteousness.

Today we are going to look at another aspect of the exchange: from curse to blessing. Jesus was made curse that we might receive the blessing. This is very clearly unfolded in Galatians, Chapter 3. First of all, in verse 10, Paul says:

“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.’” (NIV)

In other words, if you’re relying on keeping the law to make  you righteous, then you have to keep the entire law all the time, but if you fail in any point at any time, then you come under the curse which is due to those who break the law. Then he goes on in verses 13 and 14:

“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.’ [That’s a quotation from the Law, from the Book of Deuteronomy]. He [Christ] 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)

That’s a very clear statement. All the curses of the broken law came upon Jesus that all the blessings of obeying the law might be made available to us.

We saw last week the exchange between sin and righteousness. 2nd Corinthians 5:21:

“God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us. so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (NIV)

Well there follows a logical progression. Because Christ was made sin, inevitably also, he was made a curse. From the beginning of human history, sin has always been followed by the curse and always will be. The record of man’s fall and rebellion is contained in Genesis, Chapter 3 and as we study God’s response and God’s judgement, we see that the word curse appears for the first time in the Bible. First of all in Genesis 3:14:

“The Lord said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals.’” (NIV)

And then a little further on in the same context, God said to Adam, in verse 17:

“Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you.” (NIV)

First cursed is the serpent, then cursed is the ground, and in the next chapter, after Cain had murdered his brother Abel, we read in Genesis 4:10 and 11:

“The Lord said, [to Cain] ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.’” (NIV)

So you see, the curse came first upon the serpent, the author of temptation, then upon the ground which was Adam’s inheritance, and then in the next generation the curse came upon Adam’s own son. So bear that in mind, wherever sin enters, the curse follows.

We need to know just exactly what is included in the curse for the broken law and there’s one chapter in the Bible which tells us very exactly and completely. It’s Deuteronomy, Chapter 28. Make a note to look it up for yourself when you have opportunity. Read through it carefully. I’m just going to pick out some verses from it. It contains, first of all, all the blessings for obeying the law, then all the curses for breaking the law. We look briefly at the blessings first. Deuteronomy 28, verses 1 through 6:

“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands, I give you today, the Lord your God will set you on high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God: [Now, these are the blessings] You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock, the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.” (NIV)

Those blessings are total. They cover every area of the life of the person who’s obedient. A little further on we begin to see the curses. Deuteronomy 28, verses 15 through 22  again, I’m only going to be able to give you a kind of brief selection. I recommend you to study this more fully for yourself. Deuteronomy 28, verse 15 and following:

“However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out. The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. [Now listen, we’re still reading the curses]. The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish.” (NIV)

Now, on my own, I’ve made a careful study of all the curses and I’ve summed them up under certain headings which I will pass on to you. I would say this is a summation of these curses: humiliation, mental and physical sickness, family breakdown, poverty, defeat, oppression, failure, and God’s disfavor. Those are all the curses for the broken law. Let me read that list to you once more: humiliation, mental and physical sickness, family breakdown, poverty, defeat, oppression, failure, and God’s disfavor.

Now, in the light of that list, that summation, let me ask you. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, could it be that you are enduring curses instead of enjoying blessings? Could it be that you’ve never realized what Christ accomplished for you on the cross when he redeemed you from all the curses of the broken law and made open to you all the blessings of his obedience. I suggest to you, you need to ponder and ask yourself that question. Am I enduring curses when I should be enjoying blessings?

Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. I’ll be explaining more fully the exchange from curse to blessing.

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