‘… Canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.’
As much as Leviticus tells us of the blessings incurred by those who walk in Abba’s Instruction, it also tells us of the curses that befall those who don’t (Leviticus 26). There is a common teaching out there that claims that in His death and resurrection, Yeshua conquered and annulled the curse that comes through disobedience and that only the blessings remain. In essence, the Torah has lost its ‘teeth’; there is no more retribution for sin.
This interpretation of a statement found in Paul’s letter to the believers in Galatia is mostly due to mistranslation. Those who translated the letter did it under the influence of a theology that discarded the writings of Leviticus and believed the ancient Hebrew Scriptures obsolete. They also did not understand the cultural and social context of the Letter to the Galatians.
Paul’s statement, “Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us … (Galatians 3:13)” certainly annot infer that the Torah itself is a curse. That would fly in the face of Its life giving purpose (Psalms 19:7) and eternal status (Psalms 19:9). It would also go against everything King David said about It (Psalms 119). What does Paul mean in his statement?
It is explained by another statement “by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14)”. What Messiah cancels ’nailing to the tree’ is the ‘record’ of our ‘debt’. Every sin (disobedience to Torah: 1 John 3:4) is a ‘debt’ unto God. A record is kept of this ‘debts’ which is what is brought to the judge by the prosecutor in a Roman court of Law; it is the written record of the charges against any of us. This is what is being annulled: the record of the charges against us that require the death penalty, not the Universal Code of Law that defines right and wrong. If the Code of Law if annulled sin disappears and then, what need is there for forgiveness? The death mentioned here is not physical death which we all partake of, but the ‘death’ that separates us from God forever. We must never forget though that the only reason we do not get the punishment of this death is because Mashiach takes it for us in a settlement out of court. The ‘charges’ are not ‘deleted’, just paid by Someone else! He is the only One Whose righteousness successfully defied ‘death’ and conquered it. In Yeshua, The ‘prosecutor’ found its match!
In essence, we owe Him our lives. Our lives belong to Him and we should live in a state of eternal gratitude. When asked ‘how are you?’ a famous radio show host always answers, ‘better than I deserve’. That should also be the sentiments that runs through our being day and night, “better than we deserve”!