In finishing this study, Derek explains how Christ became a curse for us when He hung upon the cross. He exhausted every curse for each of us so we would not have to bear them. Then He gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the finished work of Christ on the cross and receive the blessings in our lives as a result.
It’s good to be with you again, as we draw near to the close of another week. Today I’ll continue and complete the theme that I’ve been following for the past two weeks, “The Decision is Yours.”
In my two previous talks, I’ve been dealing with two specific decisions or choices with which God confronts us in His Word. They were presented by Moses to Israel in two chapters in the book of Deuteronomy, chapters 28 and 30. These are the choices or decisions: the first one, between life or death; the second, between blessing or curse. And I pointed out to you that in each case the Bible indicates these things come as a result of making a decision. If we make the right decision, it’s for life and blessing; if we make the wrong decision, it’s death and cursing.
I also explained briefly the steps to the two, to blessing or to curse. The steps to blessing are these, very simple: to hear and obey God’s voice. What could be more simple than that? And the steps to curses are just the opposite: not hearing God’s voice and not obeying it. And remember, either way it’s a decision, a decision that you’re going to make.
Now, in my talk today, I’m going to continue with this theme of blessings and curses and I’m going to explain how to make the right decision, what’s actually involved in making that decision and passing from curse to blessing. I think it would be good, first, if I just recapitulated my summary of blessings and curses so that you’ll know what you’re getting out of and what you’re getting into. I’ll start this time with the curses. This is a summation of Deuteronomy 28, verses 15-68:
Failure to reproduce
Mental and physical sickness
Those are curses. Now let’s look at the blessings. In the first fourteen verses of Deuteronomy 28, I summed them up this way:
Now, to be very practical, I’m going to explain to you the scriptural way by which you can implement your decision to turn from the curses and to enter into the blessings. It’s all based on a key passage in Galatians, chapter 3, verses 13 and 14, which says this:
“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.’ He 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.”
That speaks about what Jesus accomplished for us by His atoning death on the cross and the particular aspect of what He accomplished in those verses is the transition from curse to blessing. And it’s based on this scriptural legal fact that on the cross Christ became a curse. In the Old Testament it was written that everyone who was hanged on a tree is a curse. So when Jesus, by the foreknowledge of God, was hanged on the tree, which is the cross, that was God’s testimony that Jesus had been made a curse for us. Why? That He might redeem us from the curse. In other words, the curse that was due to all human sin, rebellion, stubbornness, wickedness, all that came upon Jesus on the cross.
Let me use this phrase: Jesus exhausted the curse. Every curse. And if you analyze the curses, you’ll see that they were all fulfilled in that act of the crucifixion. Every curse came upon Jesus.
Let me mention one specific curse, just by way of illustration: the poverty curse. Deuteronomy 28, the poverty curse is described as this: “that thou shalt serve thine enemies whom the Lord thy God shall send against thee in hunger and in thirst and in nakedness and in want of all things.” That’s total absolute poverty. Hunger, thirst, nakedness, want of all things.
Consider Jesus as He hung on the cross: He was hungry, he had not eaten for 24 hours; He was thirsty, one of His last utterances was, “I’m thirsty”; He was naked, they had taken all His clothes from Him; and He was in want of all things, He had nothing. He was buried in a borrowed burial robe and laid in a borrowed tomb. He had literally nothing. He exhausted the poverty curse on our behalf.
But not only the poverty curse but every one of those curses Jesus exhausted on the cross. He was made the curse. Why? That we in turn through faith might receive the blessing. The evil came upon Him that the good might be made available to us. That’s the legal scriptural basis of this transition. That’s the basis on which God can give you your decision. You’ve decided to turn your back on the curses. You’ve decided to seek the blessings. Well, this is the way that God, without compromising His justice, can offer you the blessings in place of the curses. Because His justice was satisfied by the propitiatory death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus bore our sins, He was condemned in our place, He died our death and He bore our curse that we in turn might be made righteous, that we might have life, and that we might receive the blessing.
But bear in mind that it comes through the Holy Spirit because in the 14th verse of Galatians 3, it says: “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might comes to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit [capital “S,” the Holy Spirit].” In other words, the Holy Spirit is the administrator of the blessings that have been legally obtained for us by the atoning death of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
Let me say those simple statements once more:
The exchange is from curse to blessing.
The cross is the place of decision.
The Holy Spirit is the administrator of the blessings as we hear and obey God’s voice.
I’ve pointed out that the transition in your life will come, the transition from curse to blessing that is, the transition will come by your making the right decision. And you can make that right decision right here and now. But I need to add that making the right decision will not necessarily change every aspect of your life immediately. What it will do is change the course of your life. You’ve been walking into the shadows, now you turn round and begin to walk into the sunlight. It’s a process, not one single instantaneous experience. As you are thenceforth led by the Holy Spirit, the blessings will be worked out for you. Let me remind you of what Moses said in Deuteronomy 28:2. If you hear and obey the voice of the Lord,
“[All] these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.”
So you turn around, you turn your back on that dark world of curses. You turn toward the sunlight of God’s favor. You begin to walk toward it, you’re walking away from the curses. You’re walking into the area of blessings. Now it doesn’t follow that all the blessings will immediately be yours but as you continue to walk in that direction, as you continue to hear and obey God’s voice, as you continue to be led by the Holy Spirit, then the blessings will come on you and overtake you. What I’m talking about is a total change in the course of your life. That comes by decision. You can make that decision right now. The outworking of your decision will really take the rest of your life, but your life will be going in a different direction from what it has been up to now.
Now I want to ask you this very important and personal question. Are you ready to make that decision? Many of you that have heard my voice and have listened to the list of curses, you’ve had to say, “Well, that’s what I’m experiencing. It just describes my life. So many things in that list are what are happening to me. I surely don’t want that any longer. I want to make that right decision. I want to change. I want to turn around. I want to turn my back on all that darkness.” Well, if that’s what you want to do, let me just try and show you very briefly and simply how to do it.
I want you to think of yourself mentally standing at the foot of the cross, looking up at the body of Jesus hanging on the cross and saying, “Thank you, Lord. I understand. You were on that cross. You hung there because you were made a curse for me. And you were made a curse for me that I might receive the blessing. And, Lord, I want to thank you. First and foremost, I want to thank you that you love me so much that you were willing to endure all those curses that I might have the blessings. And, Lord, from now on I turn my back on those curses. I turn my back on sin and rebellion and pride and stubbornness and self-will. I won’t go my own way any longer, Lord. I turn around. I leave the curses behind me. I’m going to hear and obey your voice. I’m going to be led by the Holy Spirit. By your grace, Lord, I’m going to walk out of the darkness into the sunlight, out of the curses into the blessings.” Do you want to make that decision? You can.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time.