It is not written in the law that everyone who hangs on a tree is cursed.
Paul says God placed the Israelites under a curse by giving them the Law of Moses (Galatians 3:10). This is not true. The law was not a curse. It was given as a blessing to the Israelites. Moses said: “You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children” (Deuteronomy 4:40).
Only those who don’t do what the law requires are cursed and not those under the law. Moses says: “Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out” (Deuteronomy 27:26). Concurrently, he pronounced manifold blessings on those who obey the law (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).
David says: “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalms 19:8). Curses don’t rejoice the heart. Paul, who often creates confusion, contradicts himself by declaring elsewhere that: “The law itself was wholly right and good” (Romans 7:12). Something good does not bring curses.
Paul also maintains the law is impossible to obey (Romans 8:3). But Moses, the law-giver, says the exact opposite (Deuteronomy 30:11-14). John also confirms that the commandments of God “are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). People like Zacharias and Elizabeth fulfilled the law (Luke 1:6). Paradoxically, Paul himself claims to have been blameless under the law (Philippians 3:6).
Nevertheless, Paul castigates the law as being “of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). However, Jesus disagrees; saying it gives life. When a man asked how he might inherit eternal life, Jesus told him to obey the law (Luke 10:25-28).
Paul claims furthermore that God gave the law to show all men they are sinners: “for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). Again, this is not true. The knowledge of sin came through Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. It did not come through the law.
Inapplicability to Gentiles.
Paul’s claim that Jesus redeemed Gentiles from the curse of the law is also false (Galatians 3:13-14). Gentiles were never under the Law of Moses, so we cannot be redeemed from something inapplicable to us.
Moses asked: “What great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?” (Deuteronomy 4:8). The answer is; only Israel. The Psalmist concurs: “He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and his judgments to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; and as for his judgments, they have not known them” (Psalms 147:19-20). Malachi provides further corroboration: “Remember the Law of Moses, my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments” (Malachi 4:4).
The Law of Moses is for all Israel and not for all nations (Exodus 19:5-6). Indeed, the Jerusalem Council affirmed this by exempting Gentiles from the strictures of the law (Acts 15:24-29).
Jesus was not cursed
Paul says Jesus was made a curse for us: “for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13-14). But it is not written that everyone who hangs on a tree is cursed. The law says: “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).
Paul’s distortion is sneaky. For a man to be cursed as a result of a hanging, the law says he must have committed a sin deserving of death. Therefore, those who are innocent and are hanged are definitely not cursed. Since Jesus was innocent, he could not have been cursed by his crucifixion. So he could not have been made a curse for us. The same Paul who says: “no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed” (1 Corinthians 12:3); ends up by declaring mischievously that Jesus was accursed (Galatians 3:13).
One of Paul’s most outrageous positions is that the law came to increase sin so that grace might increase even more (Romans 5:20-21). But God is not a promoter of sin. The law came to show Israel how abhorrent sin is to God. It presents the righteousness of God.
Paul then asks: “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1). This question would have been totally unnecessary if not for the fact that it is the logical conclusion from Paul’s thesis. Thereby, by his own question, Paul acknowledges that his doctrine is likely to lead men astray.