“Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak into the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey My Voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be My people, and I will be your God: that I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O Lord.” Jeremiah 11:3-5
God said that anyone who did not follow the law, which He composed, would be cursed. Hard words to hear. It is even harder to accept when we realize that no one, except Jesus, could have kept those commandments. It was never intended that we would, because it has never been about the physical aspect of the law. It was always about our hearts in living for God.
We are, due to sin, selfish beings. Within us all, our thoughts general focus on our own needs and wants. This is why Jesus told us that lusting after another, even if we haven’t slept with them, is adultery. Hating our brother is murder. Loving money is idolatry. It is all about what is in our hearts. We could never have gone through this life and lived it entirely without sinning. Today, that would mean 80 years of perfection. It’s just not possible for us, but thank God that Jesus did for us what we could never do.
He fulfilled God’s requirements so that mankind could avoid the curse that has beset us since the very first sin in the garden, if we would believe in Him and what He did for us. What He did accomplished so much more than any one thing, but one of the most significant things was that because He showed us what love looks like by demonstrating it, He paved the groundwork within us, creating within us a new heart that desires God. Our new hearts, our new selves, suddenly have the capacity to think beyond ourselves and love outwardly, through the love that God has given to us. And wouldn’t you know, it is that very love that suddenly enables us to follow His original rules.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
So, by His Word, the very love we were given, when given to others, will fulfill the law. When we love others, we will not see them as sexual objects to lust after. When we love others, we will not steal from them. When we love others, we cannot hate them, will not kill them. Loving them, we won’t want what they have, rather, we’ll rejoice with them in their blessings.
So, the curse of death that comes from chasing after rule following and legalistic living will no longer hold sway over us. We can live freely, actually desiring to do what the law commanded, not because we have to, but because we truly want to. Freely we were given, so freely we should give and let liberty guide our lives through the Spirit within us into lovingly living for the God Who came and lives among us. No more curse, just the rich and sweet life of living in a land of milk and honey.
…or, we could continue to live under the curse in a wilderness without love and liberty.