Another Twisting

This same passage is often used in another way by prosperity preachers to justify their doctrine. They say that, because the law promised the curse of poverty to those who didn’t keep it (see Deut. 28:30-31, 33, 38-40, 47-48, 51, 68), and because Paul wrote, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law” in Galatians 3:13, we who are in Christ have been redeemed from the curse of poverty.

First, it is debatable that Paul was thinking of the specific curses found in Deuteronomy 28 when he wrote about “the curse of the law” from which Christ redeemed us. Notice that Paul didn’t say Christ redeemed us from the “curses” (plural) of the law, but rather the “curse” of the law, singular, perhaps implying that the whole law was a curse to those who tried to find salvation by keeping it. Once we are redeemed by Christ, we no longer would make the error of trying to save ourselves by keeping the law, and so we are in that sense “redeemed from the curse of the law.”

If Paul was actually saying that Christ redeemed us from every disasterous thing listed in Deuteronomy 28, thus guaranteeing our material prosperity, we would have to wonder why Paul once wrote of himself, “To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless” (1 Cor. 4:11). We would also have to wonder why Paul would write,

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (Rom. 8:35-36).

Obviously, Paul would not have written those words if all Christians were exempt from suffering persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword by virtue of Christ’s having redeemed us from the curse of the law.

We would also have to wonder why Jesus foretold the following heavenly scene,

Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?” The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matt. 25:34-40, emphasis added).

Thus there is little doubt that some believers who are “redeemed from the curse of the law” will find themselves in less-than-prosperous circumstances. Notice, however, that in the trying circumstances Jesus described, God met the needs of the suffering believers, and He did it through other believers who had more than they needed. We can always expect that God will supply our needs, even if it temporarily seems otherwise.

Finally, those prosperity preachers who want to be rich like Abraham should sincerely question if they want to live in a tent all of their lives without electricity or running water! Those whom God blessed with any degree of wealth in the Old Testament were expected to use their wealth for God’s glory, sharing their abundance and providing for others. This Abraham did, providing employment for hundreds of people that supplied their needs (see Gen. 14:14). This also Job did, who also testified of using his wealth to care for widows and orphans (Job 29:12-13, 31:16-22). Those who are gifted to build businesses should make sure their chief business is to obey God and love their neighbor as themselves.