"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." (Gal.3:13)
The law must be considered in its origin and obligation as well as in its outcome relative to obedience and disobedience, responsiveness and rebellion. Remunerative and retributive consequences are sure to follow wherever law is administered.
A prominent place is given in our Old Testament revelation to legal demands and documents in such matters as marriage, maintenance, misfortune, mortgage and many other aspects of moral, judicial and national life.
The localized conditions and character of the jurisdiction are calculated to be examples and need to be lifted out of their local setting, focused through the centuries and made to incorporate the entire universe and all mankind. Man was originally placed in dominion over the work of God's hands, but his distrust and disobedience led to the forfeiture of his authority and the loss of his jurisdiction. Man's title was surrendered, his life was mortgaged and his ability to rule perished. Sin swayed the scepter, powerlessness prevailed, death dominated and all hope of help from any human source failed. "There was no eye to pity and no arm to save. Thorns and thistles grew long and rank on the very territory where flowers and fruits had bedecked the landscape. Grim conspiracy existed everywhere, suspicion was rife, confidence was shattered, tyranny triumphed, corruption wrought havoc and violence stalked through highways of destruction. Beside all these things, unrest, upheaval and unreality abounded, so that the human race was plunged into bloodshed, bankruptcy and banishment. The entire populace of the habitable world was sold under sin, condemned by divine decree, deprived of permanent possession while virginity wept and wailed because of corruption and oppression.
What desperate need there was for an advocate to arise to plead man's cause and for a righteous judge to take up so distressing a case! Where could the nations turn for a reliable vindicator to defend? From whence might they expect a virtuous Redeemer to deliver? The case was too big and the intricacies too involved for the courts and councils of men either to deal with it or to find a solution. When we consider the prodigious problem we can but cry, "Oh, Lord, have mercy upon us," and truly He has done so. The abounding mercy of this infinite haven of compassion, studded with starry sympathies, is greater in magnitude than the cerulean arch above us.
The very necessity of the case required that Christ must be perfectly virtuous if He is to undertake to deliver from the curse of the law. Moreover it was required that He be personally victorious over the forces of antagonism and subdue the super foe of all life, love and light, ere He could honor and uphold the law of God and emancipate the multitude that would comprise His bride. Then only would it be possible to sway the scepter of universal dominion in an established kingdom of enduring righteousness.
Although He was announced as Holy and declared perfect, it was essential that this fact should be demonstrated under trial in order that He be proved perfect. In addition to this, fitness for world supremacy could only be exhibited by the prowess of complete victory and show to the world and all its generations that He is the prevailingly perfect one. These three qualities are fully displayed by the temptation in the wilderness. The first assault of the systematic attack was swift and sudden and challenged His volition. He was charged as the Son of God to exercise His own will, self-assertively, by commanding stones to be made bread. In this second approach the suggestion of the enemy assumed a more subtle aspect, for it was not so much an appeal for action as an effort to attract the very soul of His aspiration. Such onslaught revealed the true character of His virtue, which, when tested was found to be absolutely superior to that of all others. He refused to adopt the sensational as a means of attracting attention or for gaining either approval, applause or acclaim. The third attack was not directed against the volitional powers or virtuous principles but against His vocational purpose. The purpose for which Christ was manifest was in order to regain the world and mankind for God, and the enemy feigned to be so generous as to offer to Him all the kingdoms of the world for one act of homage. But the devil did not include in the proffer he had made the power of death which he held in exclusive reserve wholly to himself. Hence the significance of those tremendous words Christ spoke, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" a statement that is impossible of application apart from Himself.
He was first called on to disobey God, then to distrust Him, and finally to dishonor Him by ignoring in turn the divine sympathy, sufficiency and sovereignty of the Almighty. The devil sought to intrude self.will, self.esteem and self.interest under the age.old bait of bread, bouquets and the bribes, but Christ triumphed volitionally in the matter of obedience. He conquered virtuously in the realm of observance and He won out vocationally in the exercise of obeisance.
Christ Himself taught that love to God and to our neighbor meant the fulfillment of the law. "On these two commandments," said He, "hang all the law and the prophets." We are apt to think of love as a fragrance that has no formula because it cannot be analyzed, or as a symphony that has no instructor or as a song that has no publisher or as a sentiment that has no superstructure and which vaporizes itself away in mid.air. But Christ, the Revealer of truth, with His unclouded comprehension of eternal realities most clearly defined it. He taught that Love is demonstrated by obedience, which in turn is displayed by observance and openly declared in the obeisance of worship. (John 4:21.24)
Obedience is the outcome of owning love's sway. Observance is an obligation which arises from acknowledging love’s standards, while obeisance is the offspring of each of these and consists in offering to God love's reverent homage in adoring worship.
The inheritance of Israel devolved upon these three in relation to the Nation's entrance, maintenance and continuance in the land. That is precisely why the book of Deuteronomy incorporates the conditional requirements in the wilderness, in the land and in the kingdom. Our Lord quoted from this book in His defense against the enemy and the three points of the trial had their bearing on obedience, observance and obeisance. In the genealogy given in Matt. 1, the characters from Abraham to Jesse had laid upon them the supreme demand for obedience. From David to the carrying away into Babylon observance is the chief requirement, while from Zerubbabel to the close of the Old Testament obeisance is the main obligation. Out of the forty.two generations selected from Old Testament history Christ is the only One Who perfectly obeyed the will of God, fully observed the Word of God and Who in devout obeisance rendered unblemished worship.
He magnified the law and made it honorable. If He had not completely vindicated every righteous requirement, He could never have redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us. He met all obligations, overcame all deflecting influences, offered Himself without spot to God and now stands gloriously triumphant at the right hand of the Majesty on high, enthroned as our Advocate, Mediator and Justifier. "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." (Rom. 10:4) This declaration teaches that He has terminated honorably all legal claims and emancipated and exonerated mankind.
The circumstances under which Boaz secured justice for Ruth are recorded in the fourth chapter of the book which bears her name. His faultless fidelity and considerate constancy enabled him to see the whole matter through to a successful climax as stated in the words of Naomi, "The man will not be in rest until he hath finished the thing this day." (Ruth 3:18) His fearless confidence was linked with a flawless loyalty. How unselfish the devotion he displayed when demonstrating kindness toward a Moabite damsel, knowing full well that Moab in addition to having an unsavory and menial origin had always been an inveterate enemy of his people, harassing and hindering their national well.being and menacing and marring international peace!
In comparison, Christ wrought a million times greater deliverance on behalf of His bride. The strength of sin had violated every feature of the divine will and the susceptibilities of holiness, and had prostituted all the gifts sent down from the "Father of lights," to uses that were base, mean and devilish. The more we contemplate humanity's state, the more astounding the secrets of grace become. Marvel of marvels that Christ should ever set His love upon mankind at all. This mystery of romance, St. Paul assures us, was kept secret since the world began, but was revealed at the commencement of this present age following the manifestation of the Son of man.
Christ transferred to the church the privileges and possessions which the Father conferred upon Him, and far more than this. He conducts His bride into the secrets of a universal purpose, in order to realize the unending union of holiest affection. Heaven's eternal Head destines His companion to dwell in the abiding home of everlasting delights. Initiation into these celestial realms of spiritual reality is beyond compare. Amid a blaze of holy beauty and glow of Heavenly glory the bride is honored by the fellowship of the Father, the companionship of Christ, the society of the seraphim, the association of angels, the comradeship of the cherubim, the friendship of all the faithful, and conducted into the intimate presence of Godhead by the infinite Spirit of incorruptibility. The magnificence of eternal deity is reflected in Messiah, the Prince, our Beloved Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only One possessing and exercising the exclusive credentials of mediation with the celestial world, qualified to open Heaven and capable of conducting His people into the realms of ineffable light, infinite love and immortal life.
Is it possible for our finite minds to fully comprehend what it really means for the myriads of redeemed ones to be lawfully absolved from all taint and tyranny, to be transformed and fashioned like to the body of His glory, to be translated into the Kingdom of the Son of His love? Surely this conquest bespeaks the supreme triumph of love and secures to Christ the greatest trophy of His grace that is anywhere revealed in the Scriptures of truth. Every other record of romance known is here transcended and surpassed, eclipsed and excelled.