In Gal 3:10, we read; For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
Have you ever heard this verse quoted as evidence we should never obey any law? If you are a Christian, chances are you will say yes. But what exactly is Paul saying here? Is he telling us not to obey the law of Moses?
As we all know, the Mosaic law has about 613 commandments, and not all of them apply to every one of us. Some are just for women, some are just for men, others only apply to priests, and then there are those we can only obey if we find ourselves within the borders of Israel and have access to a temple. So when Paul says in Gal 3:10: For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law,” he is not referring to the law of Moses because we are never supposed to do everything written in the law.
The second proof that he is not referring to the law of Moses is his usage of the Greek words ethos and nomos. As we are about to see in Gal 2:11-19, Paul uses the word ethos and nomos to tell us that ethos is not wrong in itself, but if we make ethos into a nomos, we are being legalistic:
In Gal 2:11-19, Paul tells us about Peter, who used to eat with the Gentiles. When the circumcision group arrived, he withdrew and refused to eat with them. And according to what Paul says in Gal 2:14, Peter was forcing the Gentiles to obey Jewish customs making Jewish customs into a law telling them they should abide by Jewish traditions if they wanted to become righteous with God. Paul is never opposed to Jewish customs and traditions, but he says we must never make them into a law and make that law the requirement for being righteous with God. If we try to do this, we are obligated to obey every word of the law or be cursed.
So now we know Gal 3:10 is not about the law of Moses; it is all about Jewish traditions. Jewish or Christian traditions are not a bad thing or a sinful thing in itself, but we must never make them into a law and tell others they need to live by that law to become right with God.
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