"CHRIST Jesus, . . . being in the form of God, . . . emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." Philippians 2:5-7, R.V. He was made in the likeness of men, as men are, just where they are.
"The Word was made flesh." He "took part of the same" flesh and blood as that of which the children of men are partakers, as they are since man has fallen into sin. And so it is written: "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made . . . under the law."
To be under the law is to be guilty, condemned, and subject to the curse. For it is written: "We know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that . . . all the world may become guilty before God." This, because "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:19, 23; 6:14
And the guilt of sin brings the curse. In Zechariah 5:1-4, the prophet beheld a "flying roll; the length thereof . . . twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits." The Lord said to him: "This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth." And what is the cause of this curse over the face of the whole earth? This: "For every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it."
That is, this roll is the law of God; one commandment being cited from each table, showing that both tables of the law are included in the roll. Every one that stealeth—every one that transgresseth the law in the things of the second table—shall be cut off as on this side of the law according to it; and every one that sweareth—every one that transgresseth in the things of the first table of the law—shall be cut off as on that side of the law according to it.
The heavenly recorders do not need to write out a statement of each particular sin of every man; but simply to indicate on the roll that pertains to man the particular commandment that is violated in each transgression. And that such a roll of the law does go with every man wherever he goes, and even abides in his house, is plain from the next words: "I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by My name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house."
And unless a remedy shall be found, there that roll of the law will remain until the curse shall consume that man, and his house, "with the timber thereof and the stones thereof:" that is, until the curse shall devour the earth in that great day when the very elements shall melt with fervent heat. For "the strength of sin" and the curse "is the law." 1 Corinthians 15:56; Isaiah 24:5, 6; 2 Peter 3:10-12
But, thanks be to God, "God sent forth His son, made . . . under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." Galatians 4:4, 5. By His coming He brought redemption to every soul who is under the law. But in order perfectly to bring that redemption to men under the law, He Himself must come to men, just where they are, and as they are, under the law.
And this He did; for He was "made under the law;" He was made "guilty;" He was made condemned by the law; He was "made" as guilty as any man is guilty who is under the law. He was "made" under condemnation as fully as any man is under condemnation because of his violation of the law. He was "made" under the curse as completely as any man in the world has ever been, or ever can be, under the curse. For it is written: "He that is hanged ["on a tree"] is accursed of God." Deuteronomy 21:23
The Hebrew makes this stronger still; for the literal translation is: "He that hangeth on a tree is the curse of God." And this is exactly the strength of the fact respecting Christ; for it is written that He was "made a curse." Thus, when He was made under the law, He was made all that it means to be under the law. He was made guilty; He was made condemned; He was made a curse.
But bear in mind forever that all this He "was made." He was none of this of Himself, of native fault; but all of it he "was made." And He was made it all for us: for us who are under the law; for us who are under condemnation because of transgression of the law: for us who are under the curse because of swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, and all the other infractions of the roll of God's law that goeth with us and that remaineth in our house.
He was made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law. He was made a curse, to redeem them that are under the curse BECAUSE of being under the law.
But for whomsoever it was done, and whatsoever is accomplished by the doing of it, there must never be forgotten the fact that, in order to the doing of that which was done, He had to be "made" that which those already were for whom the thing was done.
Any man, therefore, in all the world, who knows guilt, by that very thing, knows also what Jesus felt for him; and by this knows how close Jesus has come to him. Whosoever knows what is condemnation, in that knows exactly what Jesus felt for him; and so knows how thoroughly Jesus is able to sympathize with him and to redeem him. Whosoever knows the curse of sin, "the plague of his own heart," in that can know exactly what Jesus experienced for him; and how entirely Jesus identified Himself, in very experience, with him.
Bearing guilt, being under condemnation, and so under the weight of the curse, Jesus, a whole lifetime in this world of guilt, condemnation, and the curse, lived the perfect life of the righteousness of God, without ever sinning at all. And whenever any man knowing guilt, condemnation, and the curse of sin; and knowing that Jesus actually felt in His experience all this just as man feels it; then, in addition, that man, by believing in Jesus, can know in his experience the blessedness of the perfect life of the righteousness of God, in his life, to redeem him from guilt, from condemnation, and from the curse; and to be manifested in his whole lifetime to keep him from ever sinning at all.
Christ was made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. And that blessed work is accomplished for every soul who accepts of that redemption.
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." His being made a curse is not in vain: it accomplishes all that was intended by it, in behalf of every man who will receive it. For it was all done "that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Galatians 3:14
Still, whatever was intended by it, and whatever is accomplished by it, there must always be borne in mind by every soul the FACT that, in His condescension, in His emptying Himself and being "made in the likeness of men," and "made flesh," He was made under the law, guilty, —under condemnation, under the curse, —as really and as entirely as is any soul that shall ever be redeemed.
And having passed through it all, He is the author of eternal salvation, and is able to save to the uttermost from deepest loss all who come unto God by Him.