“ Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to Hashem through Yeshua HaMashiach …!”
“Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them” (Deuteronomy 27:26) is the curse the Children of Israel had to pronounce upon themselves before entering the land. If they disobey the commandment, they die! Paul refers to this passage as the ‘curse of the Torah (Galatians 3:10).
Sadly though, Paul’s statement to the Galatians’ congregation is often interpreted that if someone wants to adhere to God’s commandments like eating kosher and keeping the Sabbath, they are placing themselves ‘under the Law’ and pronouncing this curse upon themselves. How could that be when Paul agrees that the wages of sin is death and that John defines sin as the breaking of God’s commandments (Romans 6:23; 1 John 3:4)? Also, no matter how much we adhere and obey the commandments, in the end, we are all destined to die. Death is everywhere lurking upon us in the form of corruption and decay. Death is an inherent part of our lives so to speak.
Paul’s point was simple. He knew that any law without enforcement is no law at all. In order to be effective, a law has to carry consequences. In this case, the consequence is the curse of death. It certainly cannot mean that the Torah itself is death since it is pure and life-giving (Psalms 19: 7-8), and that by it we should live (Leviticus 18:5).
Paul tells us then that yes, we have a wicked and disobedient nature; we find it difficult to be the way we should be and easy to yield to our evil inclination, (Romans 7:15-19). He says that we cannot be kept from reaping the earthly consequences of our disobediences (Deut 28: 1-14), but that what saves us concerning eternal life and the World to Come, is the same as what saved Abraham, Moses, David and all the others in their days: ‘faith’ in Yeshua (John 14:6). Paul confirmed that was what the ancients believed and that it was what Habakkuk the prophet was reminding his audience in, the righteous shall live (as in eternal life) by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4). The teaching that salvation was consequential to Torah obedience was never based on Torah. That school of thought was even relatively new at the time of the Master.
Paul’s statement to the Galatians carries no implication whatsoever to disregard the commandments, only a statement of Hashem’s eternal mercies in spite of our incapability to obey. To totally disregard God’s rules for life just because we can’t do it all is really faulty logic; we don’t do that with anything else! What if we gave up trying to be godly at all just because we failed sometimes?
May we do our best to please Him by living in the way He would want us to, while retaining the assurance that even though, He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him (Psalms 103:7-11).