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Answering The Atheist
April 9, 2006 / Volume 6, Issue 15

Are those who obey the law cursed? Galatians 3:10 says yes, but Deuteronomy 27:26 says those who DO NOT obey the law are cursed. Is there a contradiction?

The Bible contains two major covenants, the Old Covenant, which God made with Israel (ie. the Old Testament), and the New Covenant, which God has made with the world in Christ Jesus (ie. the New Testament).

In the midst of God's Law for Israel, Deuteronomy 27:26 records, "Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law." This is certainly no surprise, that in the Law of Moses, those who were under it are commanded to keep it. Those who did not keep it would be subject to the curses which it spoke of.

Galatians 3:10 does speak of those who are under the law as cursed, however, it is not because of their obedience to the law. Note the latter portion of the verse is parallel to Deuteronomy 27:26, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." Those who are under the law are cursed, not because of obedience, but because of disobedience. The Law of Moses could justify the one who kept the Law perfectly, but none did so. Thus, all who were under the law were under a curse. But "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law..." (3:13)

Through the remainder of Galatians 3, the apostle demonstrates that we are no longer under the Law; we are now under faith (ie. the gospel, the New Testament). In 5:4-5, he makes it clear we are to leave the Law behind, and walk by faith, "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith."

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible