In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In the last few weeks we’ve been considering the consequences of our sin. In previous weeks we saw that when we sin, we lose communion with God and God is displeased with us. This week I want to show you that God curses us when we sin.

The Bible clearly teaches that those who sin are under his curse. The apostle Paul quotes approvingly from the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy in Galatians: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law’ (Galatians 3:10). But Paul also points out that the whole human race is cursed because they have failed to keep the law of God. Thus he can say that ‘All who rely on observing the law are under a curse’ (Galatians 3:10).

But what does it mean to be cursed? A curse is usually thought to be when someone utters their desire that bad things may happen to another person. So when God pronounces a curse he is saying bad things will happen to you. But the curse is not simply the words said, but the curse becomes an active agent bringing harm to the person. We see this in the instructions given for when an Israelite woman was suspected of committing adultery. She was given water to drink that contained a curse: ‘Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has slept with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you.’ (Numbers 5:19-22). The curse itself brings pain.

So what is the curse that God pronounces on us for sinning against him? It is a removal of all blessings and an infliction of severe pain. A whole list of the kind of blessings that are lost and the pain that is received from God’s curse for sin is contained in Deuteronomy 28.

So how do you escape God’s curse? Thankfully when Jesus went to the cross he took the curse for us by experiencing the removal of God’s blessing and the infliction of enormous pain. Paul says: ‘Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us’ (Galatians 3:13). So it is possible for God to bless you and not curse you even though you have sinned. If you trust in Jesus’ death for you, there is no longer any curse on you.

Have you believed in Jesus’ death for you or are you still living under the curse of God?

Joel Radford