Great Gospel Texts: Galatians 2:16

We have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal 2:16).[1]

An Unattainable Standard

The law referred to in the verse above is the law of Moses, otherwise known as the law of the LORD, which is summarized for us in the Ten Commandments (Exo 20). The law is God’s perfect moral standard. James tells us, “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (2:10). In the whole of human history, the only man that has perfectly obeyed God’s law is the Lord Jesus Christ.

An Indisputable Fact

The entire human race has been contaminated by Adam’s sin. “As by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom 5:12). God has pronounced each one of us guilty (Rom 3:19). Many have sought to appease God by seeking to obey the Ten Commandments. But all the law can do is tell us what to do; it doesn’t give us the power to do it. Besides, we have already broken the law, and “God requireth that which is past” (Ecc 3:15).

An Incomprehensible Love

However, although God hates sin and has found every one of us guilty, yet we read, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Joh 3:16). God hates sin, but He loves the sinner, and that love extends to the whole world. God loves every individual, regardless of what they have done.

An Infinite Cost

But God cannot save us just because He loves us. Our sins still stand as a barrier between us and God. So He sent His Son into the world to pay the price for our sins. On the cross Christ was punished by God on our behalf. Peter put it this way, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1Pe 3:18). What incredible love! God was willing to punish His Son, and Christ was willing to pay the price so that we might be saved.

A Necessary Response

However, that does not mean that everyone is saved. John 3:16 states, “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The question is, have you personally put your faith in Christ for salvation?

An Amazing Result

Thus, Paul states in Galatians 2:16, “We have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ” (NKJV). Justified, in the NT, means to be cleared of all legitimate charges, and to be given a perfect standing before God. John 3:16 tells us that the moment we trust Christ we will possess everlasting life.

[1] Bible quotations in this article are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.