As we look at another lesson in Galatians, Paul talks about justification in verses 15-21.
15 “We who are Jews by birth and not ’Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Jesus Christ that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
17 “If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”Galatians 2:15-21
In verse 16 he tells us that we are not justified by following the law, but by faith in Jesus. This tells me that a person can be the best friend, kind, always toeing the line, but if they don’t believe in Jesus, it all means nothing. Besides, none of us are perfect. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God.
So what is considered a law? It’s a measure by which we decide whether something conforms to a standard. Obviously, the tablets containing the ten commandments would be considered laws. But, we have laws of nature, laws of the road, laws of physics, codes of honor, classroom rules, standards of operation. Without something to guide the way we live it would be a world of chaos. Each country, nation, or city may have different rules. We don’t always play by the same rules.
God has moral laws that people are breaking all the time. When we realize we’ve broken his laws, we live under guilt. We try to clear our conscience by rationalizing our behavior, making excuses for ourselves. The harder we try to cover up our bad choices the deeper we get in denial. We may not even be aware we’re doing this.
If we could perfectly follow God’s laws, what would we need Jesus for? Or God for that matter? There would be no need to justify ourselves. Jesus would have died in vain. Paul tells us that we are justified in faith through Jesus Christ! God sees us as just because he has justified us himself. As we realize this to be true, God has justified us. It’s all because of the grace he gives us!
We give up our own life to let Christ live in us. Our life becomes intertwined with God. We end up aligning our will with his. What we want in life falls in line with what he wants for us.
Next time we’ll move on to chapter 3! Stay with me as we dig deeper into scripture revealing things we never realized before!