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Galatians 3:10

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

As many as are of the works of the law - All that seek salvation by the performance of the works of the law are under the curse, because it is impossible for them to come up to the spiritual meaning and intent of the law; and the law pronounces them cursed that continue not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. Hence, every Jew is necessarily under the curse of God's broken law; and every sinner is under the same curse, though he be not a Jew, who does not take refuge in the salvation provided for him by the Gospel. It is worthy of remark that no printed copy of the Hebrew Bible preserves the word כל col, All, in Deuteronomy 27:26, which answers to the apostle's word πασι, all, here. St. Jerome says that the Jews suppressed it, lest it should appear that they were bound to perform all things that are written in the book of the law. Of the genuineness of the reading there is no cause to doubt: it exists in six MSS. of Kennicott and De Rossi, in the Samaritan text, in several copies of the Targum, in the Septuagint, and in the quotation made here by the apostle, in which there is no variation either in the MSS. or in the versions.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For as many as are of the works of the law - As many as are seeking to be justified by yielding obedience to the Law - whether the moral law, or the ceremonial law. The proposition is general; and it is designed to show that, from the nature of the case, it is impossible to be justified by the works of the Law, since, under all circumstances of obedience which we can render, we are still left with its heavy curse resting on us.

Are under the curse - The curse which the Law of God denounces. Having failed by all their efforts to yield perfect obedience, they must, of course, be exposed to the curse which the Law denounces on the guilty. The word rendered “curse” ( κατάρα katara) means, as with us, properly, “imprecation,” or “cursing.” It is used in the Scriptures particularly in the sense of the Hebrew אלה 'alahmalediction, or execration Job 31:30; Jeremiah 29:18; Daniel 9:11; of the word מארה me'ēraah Malachi 2:2; Revelation 22:3; and especially of the common Hebrew word קללה qelaalaaha curse; Genesis 27:12-13; Deuteronomy 11:26, Deuteronomy 11:28-29; Deuteronomy 23:5; Deuteronomy 27:13, et scope al. It is here used evidently in the sense of devoting to punishment or destruction; and the idea is, that all who attempt to secure salvation by the works of the Law, must be exposed to its penalty. It denounces a curse on all who do not yield entire obedience; and no partial compliance with its demands can save from the penalty.

For it is written - The substance of these words is found in Deuteronomy 28:26; “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.” It is the solemn close of a series of maledictions, which Moses denounces in that chapter on the violators of the Law. In this quotation, Paul has given the sense of the passage, but he has quoted literally neither from the Hebrew nor from the Septuagint. The sense, however, is retained, The word “cursed” here means, that the violator of the Law shall be devoted to punishment or destruction. The phrase “that continueth not,” in the Hebrew is “that confirmeth not” - that does not establish or confirm by his life. He would confirm it by continuing to obey it; and thus the sense in Paul and in Moses is substantially the same. The word “all” is not expressed in the Hebrew in Deuteronomy, but it is evidently implied, and has been insorted by the English translators. It is found, however, in six manuscripts of Kennicott and DeRossi; in the Samaritan text; in the Septuagint; and in several of the Targums - Clarke.

The book of the law - That is, in the Law. This phrase is not found in the passage in Deuteronomy. The expression there is, “the words of this law.” Paul gives it; a somewhat larger sense, and applies it to the whole of the Law of God. The meaning is, that the whole law must be obeyed, or man cannot be justified by it, or will be exposed to its penalty and its curse. This idea is expressed more fully by James James 2:10; “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all;” that is, he is guilty of breaking the Law as a whole, and must be held responsible for such violation. The sentiment here is one that is common to all law, and must be, from the nature of the ease. The idea is, that a man who does not yield compliance to a whole law, is subject to its penalty, or to a curse. All law is sustained on this principle. A man who has been honest, and temperate, and industrious, and patriotic, if he commits a single act of murder, is subject to the curse of the Law, and must meet the penalty. A man who has been honest and honorable in all his dealings, yet if he commits a single act of forgery, he must meet the curse denounced by the laws of his country, and bear the penalty. So, in all matters pertaining to law: no matter what the integrity of the man; no matter how upright he has been, yet, for the one offence the law denounces a penalty, and he must bear it. It is out of the question for him to be justified by it. He cannot plead as a reason why he should not be condemned for the act of murder or forgery, that he has in all other respects obeyed the law, or even that he has been guilty of no such offences before. Such is the idea of Paul in the passage before us. It was clear to his view that man had not in all respects yielded obedience to the Law of God. If he had not done this, it was impossible that he should be justified by the Law, and he must bear its penalty.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The apostle proves the doctrine he had blamed the Galatians for rejecting; namely, that of justification by faith without the works of the law. This he does from the example of Abraham, whose faith fastened upon the word and promise of God, and upon his believing he was owned and accepted of God as a righteous man. The Scripture is said to foresee, because the Holy Spirit that indited the Scripture did foresee. Through faith in the promise of God he was blessed; and it is only in the same way that others obtain this privilege. Let us then study the object, nature, and effects of Abraham's faith; for who can in any other way escape the curse of the holy law? The curse is against all sinners, therefore against all men; for all have sinned, and are become guilty before God: and if, as transgressors of the law, we are under its curse, it must be vain to look for justification by it. Those only are just or righteous who are freed from death and wrath, and restored into a state of life in the favour of God; and it is only through faith that persons become righteous. Thus we see that justification by faith is no new doctrine, but was taught in the church of God, long before the times of the gospel. It is, in truth, the only way wherein any sinners ever were, or can be justified. Though deliverance is not to be expected from the law, there is a way open to escape the curse, and regain the favour of God, namely, through faith in Christ. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law; being made sin, or a sin-offering, for us, he was made a curse for us; not separated from God, but laid for a time under the Divine punishment. The heavy sufferings of the Son of God, more loudly warn sinners to flee from the wrath to come, than all the curses of the law; for how can God spare any man who remains under sin, seeing that he spared not his own Son, when our sins were charged upon him? Yet at the same time, Christ, as from the cross, freely invites sinners to take refuge in him.
Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 364

He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility. Man cannot be saved without obedience, but his works should not be of himself; Christ should work in him to will and to do of His good pleasure. If a man could save himself by his own works, he might have something in himself in which to rejoice. The effort that man makes in his own strength to obtain salvation, is represented by the offering of Cain. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin; but that which is wrought through faith is acceptable to God. When we seek to gain heaven through the merits of Christ, the soul makes progress. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we may go on from strength to strength, from victory to victory; for through Christ the grace of God has worked out our complete salvation. 1SM 364.1

Without faith it is impossible to please God. Living faith enables its possessor to lay hold on the merits of Christ, enables him to derive great comfort and satisfaction from the plan of salvation.—The Review and Herald, July 1, 1890. 1SM 364.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 179.3

Excuses for Sin of No Value With God—But David makes no excuse. Justice points to the broken tablets of the broken law and draws her sword against the transgressor. All apologies or excuses for sin are of no value with God. The sentiment of the soul of David was, Who shall testify to lessen the guilt of the sinner when God testifies against him? God's verdict—guilty—has gone forth, and man cannot erase it. [David knows the Scripture]: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” David utters no complaint. The most eloquent psalm he ever sang was when he was climbing Mount Olivet, weeping and barefooted, yet humbled in spirit, unselfish and generous, submissive and resigned. TSB 179.3

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Ellen G. White
Faith and Works, 95.3

While we are to be in harmony with God's law, we are not saved by the works of the law, yet we cannot be saved without obedience. The law is the standard by which character is measured. But we cannot possibly keep the commandments of God without the regenerating grace of Christ. Jesus alone can cleanse us from all sin. He does not save us by law, neither will He save us in disobedience to law. FW 95.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1070

What a scene that will be! No pen can describe it! The accumulated guilt of the world will be laid bare, and the voice of the Judge will be heard saying to the wicked, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” 6BC 1070.1

Then those who pierced Christ will remember how they slighted His love and abused His compassion; how they chose in His stead Barabbas, a robber and murderer; how they crowned the Saviour with thorns, and caused Him to be scourged and crucified; how, in the agony of His death on the cross, they taunted Him, saying, “Let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” “He saved others; himself he cannot save.” They will seem to hear again His voice of entreaty. Every tone of solicitude will vibrate as distinctly in their ears as when the Saviour spoke to them. Every act of insult and mockery done to Christ will be as fresh in their memory as when the satanic deeds were done. 6BC 1070.2

They will call on the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. “The wrath of the Lamb”—One who ever showed Himself full of tenderness, patience, and long-suffering, who, having given Himself up as the sacrificial offering, was led as a lamb to the slaughter, to save sinners from the doom now falling upon them because they would not allow Him to take away their guilt (The Review and Herald, June 18, 1901). 6BC 1070.3

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