The Pulpit Commentary

Galatians 3:10 (Galatians 3:10)

Third argument—the curse of the Law.

"For as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the Law to do them." The apostle is carried naturally by antithesis of thought from the blessing of faith to the curse of the Law.

I. THE CURSE . This is "the curse of the Law" of Galatians 3:13 , from which the Law itself cannot deliver men, for its function is to condemn.

1 . It is not the mere civil punishment inflicted on the Israelites for the transgression of the ceremonial or judicial Law. The context shows that the curse is a far deeper thing, for the contrast is between wrath and blessing, condemnation and justification. Besides, the passage refers to Gentiles who could not be affected by the dispensational peculiarities of Judaism.

2 . The curse is the Divine sentence upon transgressors involving doom and shame , the loss of God, and separation from him ( Isaiah 59:2 ). The curse includes the penal sanction of the moral Law—a Law written in the hearts of Gentiles as it was delivered to Jews on tables of stone; so that Gentiles and Jews were alike under curse. It is a mistake, therefore, to regard the curse as the mere natural consequence of transgression, as disease is the consequence of debauchery; it is a penal evil.

II. THE RANGE OF THE CURSE . It extends to "as many as are of the works of the Law." A distinction is here necessary between being of the works of the Law and being under the Law. The Old Testament saints were under the Law, but they were not under curse, because, like Abraham, they "saw the day of Christ afar off." They "believed God, and it was counted to them for righteousness." They apprehended God's mercy and grace under the sacrificial forms of the Jewish economy. But the curse must necessarily descend upon "all who are of the works of the Law," because they have broken it and are still breaking it day by day.

III. HOW THE CURSE COMES INTO OPERATION . It is by a Divine sentence which pronounces the curse upon all transgressors of the Law. The curse here quoted is the last of the twelve curses pronounced by the Levites on Mount Ebal ( Deuteronomy 27:26 ). The reference points to ethical, not ceremonial, requirements.

1 . The Law demands practical obedience. It is not "hearers" of the Law, but "doers," who are in question.

2 . It demands a personal obedience. "Every one." There is no room for a proxy or a mediator.

3 . It demands a perfect obedience ; for it covers "all the things written" in the Law.

4 . It must be a perpetual obedience. " Cursed is every one that continueth not." The least failure involves the transgression of the whole Law ( James 2:10 ).

5. The effect of transgression is curse. All the evil that is involved in that terrible word. "Death and hell are the end of every sin, but not of every sinner."

6 . The Law still exists to curse transgressors. It is not abrogated, though Judaism is no more.

- The Pulpit Commentary

Galatians 3:1-14 (Galatians 3:1-14)

The bewitchery of Law.

Paul, having stated his position as dead to the Law and inspired by Christ, goes on in the present paragraph to appeal to the Galatians to free themselves from the bewitching power of Law, and to yield themselves to the faith in a crucified and now risen Christ, which alone secures justification and its cognate blessings. And here we notice—

I. HOW LAW CAN COMPETE SUCCESSFULLY WITH A CRUCIFIED SAVIOUR FOR THE HOMAGE OF THOUGHTLESS HEARTS . (Verse 1.) Paul here declares that two attractive powers had been presented to the Galatians—a crucified Christ in his own preaching, and the Law in the preaching of the Judaizers; and, to his amazement, the Law had so bewitched them as to lead them to look for salvation to Law-keeping instead of to the Saviour. And yet it only brings out the fact that there is in Law and self-righteousness a bewitchery which is continually leading souls back to bondage. It seems so natural to establish some claim by Law-keeping and ceremony that poor souls are from time to time falling into legal hope and its delusions. The superstition, which is abroad now, and leads so many to ceremonials for salvation, rests upon this foundation. It is the fascination of an evil eye which is upon the foolish votaries; they fancy they can save themselves by Law, and maintain their self-complacency and pride all the time. But it is delusion pure and simple.

II. ALL THAT LAW CAN REALLY DO FOR SINNERS IS TO CONDEMN THEM . (Verses 10, 13.) The position taken up by Law is this—to condemn every one who falls short of perfect obedience. No partial obedience will be entertained for a moment. "Every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them," is by the Law "cursed." This tremendous deliverance ought to be the death of all "legal hope." The soul who continues to hope in the Law, after such a definite utterance only proclaims his foolishness. One breach of Law is sufficient to secure the curse. The Law maintains its demand for perfect obedience, and, if this be not rendered, it can do nothing but condemn. It becomes the more amazing that any after this could be bewitched by Law. Surely if the Law can only curse sinners, the sooner we look for salvation in some other direction than Law, the better. And to go back to Law-keeping from grace, in hope of acceptance, is clear retrogression.

III. JUSTIFICATION AND ITS COGNATE BLESSINGS CAN ONLY COME BY FAITH , (Verses 2-9, 12, 14.) The Law in the nature of things cannot justify sinners. It has no means of doing so. But God in his grace has provided a way of justification. It is through the merits of his Son. And here we must remember that imputation of merit is the commonest fact of experience. There is not one of us who does not get a start in life and a consideration extended to us which are due to the merits of others, a respected parent or some deeply interested friend. We are surrounded with a halo of glory by virtue of the character of others. Their character helps us to a position and opportunity we could not otherwise obtain. It may be called a mere association of ideas, but it is strictly the passing of merit over from man to man. In the same way Jesus Christ has come into our world, allied himself with our sinful race, merited consideration and acceptance by obedience to Law, even as far as death, and this merit of the Divine Man passes over to believers. In the Father's sight, therefore, we are regarded as just, notwithstanding all our sin. We have been justified through faith. But besides, the believers obtain the Spirit to dwell within them, so that a process of sanctification is set up within them as soon as justification takes place. And the indwelling Spirit may manifest his presence and power in wonderful works, as appears to have been the case with these Galatians (verse 5). So that Divine grace not only secures the justification of all who trust in Jesus, but their sanctification and spiritual power as well. Wondrous blessings are thus the outcome of Divine grace, and the heritage of those who believe. What a change from having to endure the curse of Law!

IV. ABRAHAM ILLUSTRATES THE BENEFIT OF FAITH IN GOD AS CONTRASTED WITH RELIANCE ON LAW . (Verses 6-9.) The legalists claimed Abraham as their father. One would have supposed that Abraham had been the greatest ceremonialist of the early dispensation. But the truth is that Abraham was justified and accepted by simply believing God when he promised a world-wide blessing through Abraham's seed. The blessing came to the patriarch through simple trust in God. Those who hoped in Law-keeping, therefore, were not the true followers of Abraham. It was only those who trusted God for salvation and blessing who walked in the patriarch's footsteps. Consequently, all the ceremonialism which tried to shelter itself under the wings of Abraham was a simple imposition ] The "merit-mongers," as Luther calls them in his ' Commentary,' have thus no pretence of countenance from the case of Abraham. It was to simple trust in God he owed his standing before him. How needful, then, it is for us to shake ourselves free from every remnant of self-righteousness, and to look simply and implicitly to Christ alone] It is by faith we stand and live. The Christ who became the curse for us by hanging on a tree, calls us to trust him for acceptance and inspiration; and in trusting him we find the promise amply redeemed.—R.M.E.

- The Pulpit Commentary

Galatians 3:1-14 (Galatians 3:1-14)

Appeal to experience and Scripture.

I. FOOLISHNESS OF THE GALATIANS SHOWN FROM THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE .

1 . Expression of astonishment in view o f their first impressions of the cross. "O foolish Galatians, who did bewitch you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth crucified?" Paul's address to Peter concluded with his presenting the dreadful supposition of Christ having died for nought. He with that turns to the Galatians, and calls to their recollection the memorable impression which the first presentation of Christ crucified had made on their minds. There had been, as it were, a localization of the cross among them. Christ had been so presented to them that preacher and time and place were all forgotten. There on Galatian soil was the cross erected; there was the Holy One and the Just taken and nailed to the tree; there his blood flowed forth for the remission of sins. And they were deeply affected, as if the crucifixion scene] had passed before their eyes. It is a blessed fact that the evil of our nature is not insuperable—that there is in the cross what can act on it like a spell. Even the greatest sinners have been arrested and entranced by the eye of the Crucified One. It is, on the other hand, a serious fact that evil can be presented to us in a fascinating form. Here the Galatians are described as those who had been bewitched. It was as if some one had exerted an evil spell on them. His evil eye had rested on them and held them so that they could not see him by whose crucifixion they had formerly been so much affected. And the apostle wonders who it could be that had bewitched them. Who had been envious of the influence which the Crucified One had obtained over them? What false representations had he made? What flattering promises had he held out? Such a one had great guilt on his head; but they also were chargeable with foolishness in allowing themselves to be bewitched by him. The Galatians were by no means stupid; they were rather of quick perception. They had the strong emotional qualities of the Celtic nature; their temptation was sudden change of feeling. They were foolish in yielding to their temptation, in not subjecting their feelings to the guidance of reason, in not using the Divine helps against their being bewitched. And the apostle, in charging home foolishness on them, would have them recall what the cross had once been in their eyes, in order to break the present spell of evil.

2 . The one admission he asks of them in order to prove their foolishness. "This only would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?" He felt that he had such a hold on them from their past experiences that he could have asked of them many admissions. With one, however, he will be content. This had reference to the reception of the Spirit. The gospel dispensation was the dispensation of the Spirit. It was by the sacrifice of Christ that the Spirit was really obtained. It was soon after the offering of that sacrifice that the Spirit was poured out, as though liberated from previous restraints. The great blessing, then, of that dispensation, obtained they it by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith? The Law is to be understood in the sense of the Mosaic Law, which the Judaists sought to impose on Gentile Christians. The Law and faith are here placed in opposition. Works are the characteristic of the Law; hearing is the characteristic of faith. Was it, then, by Law-working that they had received the Spirit? When would it quantitatively and qualitatively have sufficed for their receiving the Spirit? Was it not the case, too, that the great majority of them in the Galatian Churches had not been under the Law? They had not been circumcised, and yet the Spirit had been received by them. Was it not, then, by the hearing which belongs to faith? They had not tediously to elaborate a Law-righteousness. They had not to work for a righteousness at all. They had simply to hear in connection with the preaching of the gospel. They had to listen to the proclamation of a righteousness elaborated for them. And while their faith was imperfect, and could not be in itself the ground of their justification, they had, as perfectly justified, received the Spirit.

3 . Two points in which their foolishness was shown at its height. "Are ye so foolish?"

(2) They stultified their sufferings. Did ye suffer so many things in vain? if it be indeed in vain." It is to be inferred that they suffered persecution. They suffered many things, though of their sufferings we have no record. They suffered for Christ, and it may have been for liberty in him. That gave a noble character to their sufferings, and promised a glorious reward. But now, with their changed relation to Christ, those sufferings had lost their character. There was no longer a Christian halo around them. They were simply a blunder , what might have been avoided. They could not hope, then, for the reward of the Christian confessor or martyr. The apostle is, however, unwilling to believe that the matter has ended with them. In the words which he appends, "if it be indeed in vain," he not only leaves a loophole of doubt, but makes an appeal to them not to throw away that which they had nobly won.

4 . The one admission reverted to with special reference to the miraculous operations of the Spirit. "He therefore that supplieth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?" It was God who supplied the Spirit to them. He especially supplied the power of working miracles. It is taken for granted that miracles were still being wrought in connection with the Galatian Churches. The miraculous operations of the Spirit are not more remarkable in themselves than his ordinary operations; but they were more exceptional. Being more easily appreciated, too, they were especially fitted to attract attention to Christianity, and to commend it to them that were outside. And as the Galatians had thrown doubt on their relation to Christianity, he very naturally meets them by making his appeal to the evidence of miracles. Did God give any token of his approval to those who were identified with the works of the Law—to the Judaizing teachers? Was there any exceptional power possessed by them? Did not God work miracles through those who were identified with the hearing of faith—through the preachers of the gospel? And was that not conclusive evidence that he was with them in their teaching?

II. THE CASE OF ABRAHAM WITH REFERENCE TO JUSTIFICATION .

1 . He was justified by faith. Scripture statement. "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness." There could be no question regarding the high authority of Abraham's example. And the best way to deal with it was in connection with Scripture. What, then, was the Scripture account of Abraham's justification? In Genesis 15:6 it is said, "He believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness.'' It is not "He was circumcised, and that was reckoned unto him for righteousness." There is no mention of his justification in connection with his circumcision. Indeed, he was justified before he was circumcised. Abraham's case, then, tells against justification by the works of the Law. On the other hand, he was a signal example of the hearing of faith. He heard God saying to him, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee;" and he went forth, leaving country and kindred and home, not knowing whither he went. He heard God saying that he should have a seed numerous as the stars of heaven, and it was his crediting this as God's word, though it conflicted with all human experience, that was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Again, he heard God commanding him to offer up the son of the promise, and, notwithstanding all the difficulties it involved, he acted upon what he heard. It is true that this was personal righteousness so far as it went. It was the right disposition towards God. Abraham approved himself before God by his faith, and by his works which evidenced his faith. But it is not said that this was his righteousness. It was not meritorious righteousness; it was simply faith grasping the Divine word which made him righteous. It was imperfect faith, and therefore could not be the ground of his justification. But the language is that "it was reckoned unto him for righteousness." Though his faith was not meritorious, was imperfect, it was reckoned unto him as though he had fulfilled the whole Law. From the moment of his hearing in faith he was fully justified. Inference. "Know therefore that they which be of faith, the same are sons of Abraham.'' The contention of the Judaists would be that the keepers of the Law were the true sons of Abraham. The apostle regards this Scripture as a disproof of their position. Abraham was notably a believer. He heard God speaking to him on various occasions, and it was his humbly distrusting his own judgment and listening to the voice of God for which he was commended. It was, therefore, to be known, to be regarded as indisputable, that believers, those who have faith as the source of their life, and not those who are of the works of the Law, are the true sons of Abraham.

2 . The promise on which his faith rested. Scripture with preface. "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed." The Scripture is here put in place of the Author of Scripture, and foresight is ascribed to it which is properly to be ascribed to God. The foresight of God was shown in the form in which the promise was given. It had nothing of Jewish exclusiveness about it, but was suitable to gospel times. Indeed, it could be described as the gospel preached beforehand unto Abraham. The language recalls our Lord's words, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad." It was the promise of blessing without any restriction of contents. It was the promise of blessing to all nations. There was thus the same ring about it that there was about the angelic message when Jesus was born: "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." And God, having in view the extension of the blessing to the Gentiles, promised it in Abraham. He did not promise it in Moses, who was identified with the Law; but he promised it in Abraham, who was characteristically a believer. The being in him points to Abraham, not only as a believer, but as holding the position of the father of believers. He was thus more than an example of the mode of justification. It was in him that the blessing was given, that the connection was formed between faith and justification. It is as his seed, or sons, that it is to be obtained by us. General inference. "So then they which be of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham." He has already shown who the sons of Abraham are, viz. "they which be of faith." Founding, then, upon that, as well as upon what he has just quoted, his conclusion is that believers are sharers with Abraham in his blessing. He not only stood in the relation of father to believers: as a believer himself, he was blessed. He had especially the blessing of justification, which has been referred to. And along with him do all believers enjoy especially the blessing of justification.

- The Pulpit Commentary

Galatians 3:10 (Galatians 3:10)

For as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse ( ὅσοι γὰρ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου εἰσίν ὐπὸ κατάραν εἰσίν ); under a curse , or, under cursing. "For." The apostle is now making the clause in the preceding verse, "they who are of faith," the limiting description of those who "are blessed with faithful Abraham;"—I say, they who are of faith; for they who are of the works of the Law are in a very different case. In the phrase, "are of the works of the Law," the preposition "of" ( ἐκ ) has the same force as has been already noted in the phrase ( Galatians 3:9 ), "they who are of faith;" it signifies dependence upon, belonging to, taking position from; and it marks a moral posture of mind voluntarily assumed. The apostle in laying down the aphorism of the present passage has doubtless an eye to those of the Galatians who were moving for the adoption of circumcision and the ceremonies of the Levitical Law. Withdrawing from the category of those who were of faith, they were preparing to join those who were of the works of the Law. If their taking up with circumcision, and with these or those of the Levitical ordinances, was not mere childish trifling; if in serious and solemn earnest it meant anything, it meant this—that they looked to gain from these observances acceptableness before God, as performing works commanded by his Law given through Moses; but in that view they were bound to take the Law in its entirety, and do every work which it prescribed, ceremonial and moral alike; for all of it came invested with the like authority and as a part of that institution was alike binding (see Galatians 5:3 ). Let them now consider well how in such circumstances their case would stand. That the "works of the Law" which stand foremost before the apostle's view in the present discussion are those of a ceremonial character is apparent from the tenor both of verses 12-19 of the preceding chapter and of verses 1-10 of the next. There is, indeed, generally tiffs difference observable between the phase of the Law regarded in this Epistle, as compared with that which engages the apostle's thoughts when writing to the Romans: in the Romans the prominent notion of the spiritual condition of those under the Law is that they are in a state of guiltiness, condemnation, spiritual inability, unconquered sin; while in the Galatians the prominent notion of their condition is that they are in a state of slavery, that the dispensation they are under is spiritually an enslaving one, a yoke of bondage ( Galatians 3:24 ; Galatians 4:1-3 , Galatians 4:9 , Galatians 4:24 , Galatians 4:31 ; Galatians 5:1 , Galatians 5:13 ). In the Romans the moral aspect of the Law is mostly in view; in this Epistle its ceremonial aspect. The consideration of these distinctive features marking this Epistle will perhaps prepare us the more readily to apprehend the particular shade of meaning with which the apostle uses the words, "are under cursing." He means, not precisely that a curse has already been definitely pronounced upon them so that they now stand there condemned, but that the threatening of a curse is always sounding in their ears, filling them with uneasiness, with constant apprehension that they shall themselves fall under it. The noun κατάρα is thus used for malediction, cursing, in James 3:9 , James 3:10 , "Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men;… out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing ( εὐλογία καὶ κατάρα );" Deuteronomy 27:13 , "These shall stand ( ἐπὶ τῆς κατάρας ) for the cursing upon Mount Ebal"—that is, for the denouncement of the several curses with which they were to threaten different classes of transgressors. As many, says the apostle, as are of the works of the Law are under a black cloud of malediction, which is ready to flash forth in lightning wrath upon every failure in obedience. And what man of them all can hope not to merit that inexorable lighting down of judgment? Supposing them to be ever so exact and punctual in their observance of those ordinances of the flesh which certain of those Galatian Churchmen are hankering after, how will it fare with them in respect to those other weightier precepts of the Law which require spiritual obedience? For one single example, how will they be able to render unfailing obedience to the commandment, Thou shalt not covet? Beyond question, the apostle writes with the sense which he has so fully developed in his Epistle to the Romans ( Romans 3:9-20 ; Romans 7:7-24 ; Romans 8:3 ), that no one under the economy of the Law ever did, or ever could, continue in all things which were written in the Law to do them; and that therefore they that forsook the gospel of Christ to look to the Law for acceptance with God would beyond doubt become, nay, taken as they were at any moment had already become, each individual, the specific object of malediction, a child of cursing, a child of wrath ( 2 Peter 2:14 ; Ephesians 2:3 ; Romans 4:15 ). Nevertheless, his purpose just here may be presumed to be, not to affirm this, but rather to point to the miserable state of apprehensiveness and fear of instant wrath which they who were of the works of the Law must needs be in bondage to. Most commentators, however, understand κατάρα as meaning, not "cursing" or uttering general sentences of cursing ( maledictio ), but "a curse" ( maledictum ), that is, a specific curse incurred already by each individual in consequence of his having of a certainty already sinned against some commandment of the Law; if not against some ceremonial commandment, at any rate against some moral precept. Whichever way we understand it, such (the apostle at all events means) was the condition into which those Judaizing Gentile converts were preparing to precipitate themselves. For it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them ( γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι [Receptus has γὰρ without ὅτι , which conjunction is according to the Greek usage introduced superfluously] ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὃς οὐκ ἐμμένει ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς γεγραμμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τοῦ νόμου τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτά ) . The Septuagint ( Deuteronomy 27:26 ) has ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὁ [this ὁ of doubtful genuineness] ἄνθρωπος ὅστις οὐκ ἐμμενεῖ [or ἐμμένει ] ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς λόγοις τοῦ νόμου τούτου τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτούς . The Hebrew is correctly given in the Authorized Version, "Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this Law to do them." The apostle, quoting the Septuagint apparently from memory, gives the general sense rather than the exact words. He that sins against a commandment, as he does not "continue in" it, but departs from it, so also, he, as far as his action reaches, sets it aside or abrogates it instead of "confirming" it. The word "all," not found in our present Hebrew text, is stated by critics to be in the Samaritan as well as in the Septuagint. This is the last of the twelve several maledictions pronounced from Mount Ebal, and certainly includes in its scope the ceremonial as well as the moral precepts of the Law. But what did this malediction import? Certainly it expressed abhorrence—the Divine Author of the Law, and his ministers and people accepting, pronouncing, and ratifying the denunciation, all join in repudiating the offender, casting him out from among them with loathing: so much is clear. What practical effect was to be given to the malediction, even by men in this life, not to speak of the action of God hereafter in the life to come, is nowhere indicated; but all could see thus much—the offender, if dying unreconciled, would depart hence accursed of both man and God. The notion of guiltiness before God and accursedness incurred by transgression of merely ceremonial precepts has been so greatly effaced from men's consciousness by the teaching, direct and indirect, of Christ's gospel, that we find it hard to realize to our minds that there ever existed a posture of the spirit answering to such a notion, or. if such did exist, that it could be other than the fruit of an uninstructed, ill-trained state of the conscience. But it was not this, so long as the economy of Moses was in force. For these positive laws were laws of God, binding during his pleasure upon the conscience of every Israelite; and in proportion as an Israelite's consciousness of the existence of Jehovah and of his own covenant relation to Jehovah was real and vivid, in that proportion would he be careful, scrupulously careful even, in obeying those positive laws. He had, indeed, to duly estimate the comparative importance and obligation of positive and of moral precepts, especially when in actual practice they came into conflict, according to the principle laid down for example in Hosea 6:6 ; but it was at his peril that he at any time neglected the former, though still less might he dare to neglect the latter. For every Israelite, as long as the Law continued in force, that which was said by Christ was strictly true, and in both clauses meant to be taken in solemn earnest, "These latter ought he to do, and not to leave the other undone" ( Matthew 23:23 ). It was, for instance, a matter of conscience for the truly conscientious Israelite to carefully purify himself from pollution incurred by contact with the dead, and to abstain from swine's flesh; he might not neglect such purifications or partake of such meat without breaking a commandment of God's, without therefore incurring God's displeasure; and it behoved him to feel that he could not, and in proportion to the sincerity and depth of his religious sentiment he did feel it. Now, even when Israelites lived in a world of their own, comparatively free from the presence of Gentiles, the observance of the Levitical Law must needs have been at times felt to be an irksome or even anxious obligation; but its irksomeness and anxiety must have been greatly increased when Gentiles were not merely brought into close contact with them, but were even their masters. St. Peter confessed how burdensome it was felt to be, when he pronounced it a yoke which neither they nor their fathers had been able to bear. The feeling of relief must therefore have been inexpressibly great when an Israelite could come to be assured that those positive laws had ceased to be obligatory; that even if from habit or from national or social sentiment he continued to observe them, yet his conscience was quite free to disregard them without fear of displeasing God; that God's covenanted mercy had no longer any reference whatever to such observances, and that he might worship him acceptably, and hold joyful communion with him (say) in the Lord's Supper, though he had just before been handling a corpse without being since purified, or eating "unclean" meats, or working on the sabbath day. This relief the gospel brought; God's servants learnt with joy that they were righteous and accepted before him simply through faith in Christ without those "works of the Law." The curse was reversed. Now it ran thus: "Anathema be he who doth not wholly trust in Christ crucified for righteousness! Anathema be he who brings dead ordinances of the Law to darken his brethren's joy!"

- The Pulpit Commentary