Sermon No: 42213-Free from the curse

SERMON TOPIC: Free from the curse

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 3 March 2019


Sermon synopsis: In the OT, we also see that someone who was hung on a tree was under God’s curse:

Deut 21:22-23 If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse.

But in the NT we see that Jesus was “hung on a tree” when he was crucified and thus became cursed of God. He took away our curse by becoming a curse for us.

Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”


In John 4, we read that Jesus left Judea and headed back to Galilee, going via Samaria.

John 4:5-6 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his

son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

John 4:7-26 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her:

You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?

Will you give me a drink?

If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.

Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well…?

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.

Go, call your husband and come back.

I have no husband.

You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.

Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.

Woman, believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

The woman at Jacob’s Well was a Samaritan, who were a mixed race - Israelites intermingled with other Gentile races. But they venerated the five books of Moses (the Samaritan Pentateuch) as their scripture. Like the Jews, their hope was placed in the expectation of a coming Messiah as foretold by Moses.

I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.

I, the one speaking to you--I am he.

The mountain referred to in the passage is Mount Gerizim.

It is sacred to the Samaritans who regard it, rather than Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, as having been the location chosen by Yahweh for a holy temple. The mountain continues to be the centre of Samaritan religion to this day, and most of the worldwide population of Samaritans live in very close proximity to Gerizim, mostly in Kiryat Luza, the main village. Passover is celebrated by the Samaritans on Mount Gerizim, and it is additionally considered by them as the location of the Binding of Isaac (the Masoretic Text, Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scroll versions of the Book of Genesis state that this happened on Mount Moriah, which Jews traditionally identify as the Temple Mount). 1

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After the end of the Babylonian Captivity, a large schism between the Samaritans and Judaism developed, with the Samaritans, but not the Jews, regarding Mount Gerizim as the holy place chosen by God. Subsequently, in the Persian Period, the Samaritans built a temple there probably in the middle of 5th century BC, arguing that this was the real location of the Israelite temple which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The religious tension between the Jews and the Samaritans led to the temple on Gerizim being destroyed by either John Hyrcanus in the 2nd century BC (according to Josephus) or by Simeon the Just (according to the Talmud). 1

But the mountain continued to be the holy place of the Samaritans, as indicated in John’s Gospel.

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Modern Samaritan worshippers praying during a Passover ceremony on Mount Gerizim, near the West Bank city of Nablus, May 6, 2018. Credit: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/ AFP

But Mount Gerizim appears earlier in Scripture. The Israelites were instructed that when they entered Canaan they were to have a ceremony whereby blessings and curses were pronounced respectively on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal:

Deut 11:26-29 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known. When the LORD your God has brought you into the land you are entering to possess, you are to proclaim on Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses.


Nablus is (possibly) the site of ancient Shechem, and lies in the valley between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal.

Mount Gerizim

Mount Ebal

The curses were to this effect:

Deut 28:15-20 However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out. The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.


Our inability to keep God’s Law brings us under a curse. On Mount Ebal the people would say “Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out” (Deut 27:26). Paul quotes this passage when he notes:

All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” (Gal 3:10-12)

The curse is not the Law itself.

Rom 7:7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! …


Rather the curse is the penalty imposed for not keeping the Law. Everyone who does not keep the Law perfectly is cursed by it.

James says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10). Thus we are all lawbreakers – and under a curse.

The reason is that no one can obey the Law perfectly. In fact, there were over 600 laws the Jews had to keep to be right in the eyes of God. The breaking of even one commandment put a person under condemnation. Trying to achieve salvation through obedience to the Law is futile. 1

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The Law can point out where we fail and fall short of God’s holy standards, but it cannot make us righteous; that was not its purpose.

What then was the purpose of the Law?

Rom 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Rom 7:7 … Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”


The Old Covenant of the Law is important because it teaches us the perfection of God’s holiness, reveals the measure of our sinfulness and points to the only one who could fulfil it - Jesus!

Gal 3:24 (NASB) Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

(KJV) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.



In the OT, we also see that someone who was hung on a tree was under God’s curse:

Deut 21:22-23 If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse.

But in the NT we see that Jesus was “hung on a tree” when he was crucified and thus became cursed of God.

He took away our curse by becoming a curse for us.


Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

The Law demands perfection — which is impossible because we’re all sinful.

Rom 3:10 …There is no one righteous, not even one;

Because of this, all who try to live by the Law are under a curse. But the good news is that on the cross Jesus “redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal 3:13).

The curse of the Law fell on Christ so that the righteousness of God could fall on us, even though we did not deserve it.

2 Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness…


Paul explains how by faith in Christ we can be justified (declared righteous before God) even though we are sinners.

Rom 3:23-26 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.


Josh 8:30 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the Israelites.

It is interesting that Moses instructs the people to build an altar not on Mt. Gerizim, but on Mt. Ebal – the mountain where the curses were to be uttered.

Deut 27:1-5 (NIV) Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Keep all these commands that I give you today … And when you have crossed the Jordan, set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I command you today, and coat them with plaster. Build there an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones.

The sacrifice was made on Mt. Ebal, the mountain which speaks of the curse we are under because of our inability to keep God’s law. Thus it is on “the mountain of the curse” that the sacrifice is required.


Deut 27:6 (NIV) Do not use any iron tool upon them. Build the altar of the LORD your God with fieldstones and offer burnt offerings on it to the LORD your God.”

Josh 8:31 (NIV) He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses—an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the LORD burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings.

They were to use uncut stones for the altar and to offer burnt offerings on it. The use of tools to shape the stones speaks of man’s good works. They were to use uncut stones to again show that good works are not acceptable to redeem us from the curse; we need a sin offering.


To those of you who have not trusted Christ alone to deliver you from the curse of your sin, but rely on your own efforts to obey God’s law, you are still stranded on Mount Ebal. You can only hear God’s curses for your unbelief and disobedience. Because no matter how you try to obey God’s law or do good to your neighbour, your obedience is only a little speck in your world of rebellion against God. 1

Until you put your trust in Jesus, who was sacrificed on the altar at Calvary (our Mount Ebal), you will never be able to ascend Mount Zion (our Mount Gerizim), the mountain of God’s blessings. 1

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… the two unmovable mountains represent the concrete consequences of obedience or disobedience to the Law. The deep well represents the limitless depths of God’s grace. Like the Israelites of old, when I look at the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, I want the blessings. But I am cursed if I try to attain them through my own efforts. I cannot serve the LORD on my own merit, for he is Holy and I am not. What I truly need is what the Samaritan woman found at the well – Jesus. Because Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law, He is able to offer us the living water of His grace. If we drink from what he has fully done for us, then we will live with him forever and share in His blessing. 1

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Jesus met the Samaritan woman on Mount Gerizim, which was the mount of blessing and pronounces a blessing for the spiritually thirsty:

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.


Are you thirsty?

Matt 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

John 7:37-38 … Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”


Isaiah 55:1-2 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Top-up insurance – when your insurance does not fully cover the replacement value of an item, sometime people will get a top-up insurance to cover the difference.

Residual finance plans – after completing the finance payment period, there is still a residual amount owing on the item, which requires additional payment.


Some people think that salvation works on a similar basis to top-up insurance and residual finance plans. You get saved, but Jesus’ blood doesn’t pay the full price. There is still some residual curse and you need a “top-up” deliverance.

We serve a God of new beginnings. Jesus doesn’t half-save people.

According to Col 2:14, Jesus cancelled the debt and the record completely. I have no legal demands on me.

(NASB) … having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.


Generational curses do not apply to Christians, but to “those who hate me”.

Ex 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me

In fact the next verse says, “but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Ex 20:6).

Jesus became my curse.

Gal 3:13 Christ paid the price to free us from the curse that God’s laws bring by becoming cursed instead of us. Scripture says, “Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed.” (GOD’S WORD® Translation)


Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Some people in Jesus’ day thought that sickness was a result of a family curse. Jesus corrects this notion. (John 9:2-3)


Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

When you are a Christian, your past does not dictate your future. Neither do the sins of your family. You are a new creation in Christ:

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.


Jesus gives abundant life, not a life with residual curses from the past.

John 10:10 “…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36). Not “half- free”, “almost there” but FREE INDEED.


Psalm 103:12 says that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us”. The east and west never meet – they are infinitely far apart. Your enemies might remember your past mistakes, but God has forgiven and forgotten them.


Curses associated with a family no longer apply to a Christian – they have been adopted into God’s family.

So if anyone tries to remind you of your past sins or the past failures of your family – remind them that you have a new Father in heaven – and have been adopted into a new family.

Rom 8:15 (NASB) For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”


Do not live in condemnation from past sins and mistakes.

Rom 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Christians don’t dwell on former failures.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”


Don’t live in the past:

Phil 3:13-14 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Today God is saying that he wants to free you from the curse. Today you can start fresh and have a new beginning with God. You can be a new creation in Jesus.



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