Frequent readers of this blog know that there isn't any good Biblical evidence for the Protestant heresy of Penal Substitution. And because of that, they're forced to desperately cling to whatever they can to attempt to justify their error. One of the few primary texts they appeal to is Galatians 3:13, which speaks of Jesus being made "a curse" for us.
Everyone can agree that it's not enough to just make an assertion, especially on a disputed text. Instead, some actual exegesis must be done and an actual argument must be made. I'll say right off the bat that Protestantism doesn't have a leg to stand on with this verse, so all they can do is desperately assert that "curse" here means something along the lines of Jesus being eternally cut off from the Father and suffering the Father's Wrath. But if that kind of exegesis was valid, then the Arians would win the day when Jesus said "The Father is greater than I," since the Arians can simply insist this can only mean Jesus is inferior to the Father in every way.
So with the Protestant desperation is clearly established I can go onto show how real exegesis is done.
First consider the passage in question:
12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us - for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” - 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
The context is that of justification, particularly noting that the Mosaic Law is not what saves, and that in fact Jesus save us from it. Before saying any more, let's look at Paul's quote from Deuteronomy 21:
22 And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.
At first glance this can seem pretty harsh, since the text comes off as implying that Jesus was indeed cursed by God. But the catch is that we cannot just make up our definitions of what "cursed by God" here means. So unless there's a compelling reason to think this curse refers to suffering eternal wrath, then one is not free to simply assert this as fact.
The Church Fathers, from what I could find, didn't comment on this text in detail, but they were clear that this did not mean Jesus was in any sense spiritually cursed by God nor that Jesus endured the Father's wrath. Instead, the Church Fathers maintained that the 'curse' here was the curse of a humiliating death, and that's where the Biblical data points to also. This is plainly what Deuteronomy 21:22-23 is talking about, a capital punishment for grave sinners. And this makes perfect sense in light of the fact this style of execution took place a few times in the OT (Josh 8:28-29; 10:26-27), and the lesson is that crucifixion is a humiliating way to die. The implication is that anyone who suffers that way must be under God's displeasure. Thus, in short, Jesus 'became a curse' in that He endured a humiliating death by crucifixion. But there's more.
Now we can turn back to Galatians 3:13-14 and draw out a few key details. First note that Paul says Jesus "redeemed" us from the curse of the Law, meaning His work functioned as a redemption, a pay-off price, and not a transfer of punishment. This is crucial and not an irrelevant detail. So, reading the grammar properly, Jesus endured the curse of crucifixion, and this functioned as a redemption price that offset/paid the price of another curse, the curse of the Law.
Next notice why Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law: so that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles. This indicates that the real problem at hand was that the Law was preventing salvation from reaching the Gentiles, and thus the Law had to be addressed. And thus Christ's death functioned as a way of breaking down the Mosaic Law, and not about some generic taking of the Father's Wrath for mankind's sins. Consider the following paralle texts:
Hebrews 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
Notice the three-fold theme in each text: redemption, the Mosaic Law being removed, so that adoption can result. Basically, the Mosaic Law (Covenant) was violated by Israel's unfaithfulness, and as a result this was stalling God's plan to fulfill His promise to Abraham, namely that he would be spiritual father of the Jews and Gentiles. Since the Law was violated, it had to be atoned for, and that's what Christ's death accomplished as far as being "under the Law" was concerned.
Now consider the anti-type motif, where Jesus is prefigured in the OT stories but in the opposite way you'd expect. For example, John 3:14 says: “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” This recalls Numbers 21:4-9. Clearly, Jesus doesn’t correspond directly to a serpent (of all possible animals, since the serpent corresponds to Satan!). So this means Jesus can be prefigured in a way contrary to how Jesus should be seen. Now consider Deuteronomy 21:22, which says: “if a man has committed a crime punishable by death,” yet clearly Jesus didn’t commit a civil crime punishable by death, so the full horror of this statute wouldn’t even technically hold it’s force (an innocent man being unjustly killed undermines the statute). Not to mention, the statute is not saying that a person hung on a tree has the Father pouring out His wrath on their soul, suffering hellfire at that moment. And surely this law was not originally written and understood to mean some day the Messiah would be murdered by Crucifixion by a foreign army. Thus, there is good reason to see Jesus being 'cursed' as sort of unjust curse or anti-curse, since the whole point of this penalty was for the State to condemn truly guilty people, and Jesus should never have had to endure this. And this anti-type lens is further proven by the fact that every time the Apostles publicly preached on the subject of the Crucifixion in Acts, they always made a sharp distinction between Jesus being unjustly killed and hung on a tree by the Jews, versus God's vindication in rescuing and resurrecting Jesus for the injustice (Acts 2:23-24; 3:15; 3:10; 5:30-31; 10:39-40; 13:28-30).
I think this just about covers the main bases. I believe this approach I've taken completely invalidates the desperate claim that the term "curse" necessitates that Jesus was spiritually cursed and cut off from the Father. If Protestants want to push that error, they'll have to address these points I made, and I don't think they can.