Blessing and Cursing from a Biblical Perspective

The truth is much simpler than the confusing false teachings that are so prevalent. It goes like this: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord'” (Jeremiah 17:5); “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:7). With a Biblical worldview, as we have claimed, blessing and cursing are relational; not symptomatic. That message is very clear in many places, such as the book of Job and the beatitudes. Some people who are blessed by God have negative symptoms from a human perspective, and some people who are cursed because they do not know God are happy and healthy.

Here is another example: “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them'” (Galatians 3:10). Paul’s conclusion is that it is impossible to be anything but cursed if one tries to be justified by works of the Law. One transgression and you are cursed. One cannot be in right relationship with God by works. Here is the alternative:

Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. (Galatians 3:7-9)

Blessing is relational—those who are “sons of Abraham” are blessed because they have the type of justifying faith Abraham had. There is no need to look for symptoms other than for signs of saving faith.

Let us take this even deeper. Consider this passage: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1Corinthians 15:22). Everyone born is born “in Adam” and therefore under the curse of sin and death. Our relationship with Adam curses us. But everyone in Christ is blessed with the promise of eternal life. We are “in Adam” by natural generation and can only be “in Christ” by supernatural regeneration—being born again. That is why the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only means of escaping the curse. (See Romans 5:12-21 for Paul’s teaching on the Adam/Christ analogy.)

Being in a right relationship with God means that one cannot be cursed by any lesser being—be it spiritual or human. Balaam, a famous curse maker, tried to earn money to curse God’s blessed people Israel. Here is Balaam’s conclusion about that attempt: “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it” (Numbers 23:19, 20). But Balaam did not give up. He knew that the only way to get Israel cursed was to tempt them with paganism to disobey God’s Word and then God would curse them: “But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality” (Revelation 2:14; see Numbers 31:16). If God’s people apostatize, they put themselves out of a right relationship with God and that is the only thing that will curse them. Embracing a pagan worldview is a path to apostasy. I believe God will preserve us from that. But we would be utter fools to ignore the warnings against apostasy on the grounds that we deem ourselves secure.