Dr David Gooding wrote a valuable book titled “The Riches of Divine Wisdom”. In this book he develops the thought that the Spirit of God; being the author of both “Testaments”, is free to use the Old Testament in the New Testament in a variety of ways as He sees fit. I have found this book fascinating. I am often impressed with brother Gooding’s books, and this one is no exception. I find some of the chapters challenging; but that is a reflection on me; not on him.
Recently I was thinking about Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:13, 14 where Paul writes that Christ became a curse for us.
There is a lot of theology packed into these two verses: Redemption is spoken of; the idea that the gentiles, being under the curse of the law, could not receive the promise of the Spirit through faith; and so on.
As I was thinking about these things I thought I should go back to Deuteronomy 21 where this thought it taken from. I was immediately struck with something I had not previously thought about. In my mind the curse the Saviour bore on the cross was involved in all the shame and abuse He was subject to in that awful death of crucifixion. Sadly my thinking did not go much beyond that. What I read in Deuteronomy 21 pushed my thoughts in a different direction: “…for he who is hanged is accursed of God.” Not just that our Saviour bore a curse by being crucified; but that he was subject to the curse of God! One thing to be cursed by the sinners passing by the cross, or lingering to mock and curse; but to be cursed of God is something of an altogether different category. All this so that the blessing of Abraham might come upon me and that I, a gentile, could receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Amazing!
Coming back to Deuteronomy I thought again of the instruction that the body not be left on the tree. Again, we see that fulfilled in the request that the body of our Saviour be taken down, and the insistence of the rulers that the victims of crucifixion not remain on the cross after sundown.
The one thing I have been wrestling with (maybe someone could help me with it) is that leaving the body of a God-cursed man on the tree overnight would defile the land. However, I have full confidence, because of the perfection of Scripture, that there is a good answer to my puzzlement.