Justification by faith Pt.1 - Galatians 2:15-21

The book of Romans explains the meaning of “the just”

16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even 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. Galatians 2:16 (KJV)

This is the first appearance of the important word justification in this letter, and probably in Paul’s writings (if, as we believe, Galatians was the first letter he wrote). “Justification by faith” was the watchword/ slogan of the Reformation, and it is important that we understand this doctrine. “How should [a] man be just with God?” (Job 9:2) was a vital question, because the answer determined eternal consequences. “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk. 2:4) is God’s answer; and it was this truth that liberated Martin Luther from religious bondage and fear.

The book of Romans explains the meaning of “the just”; Galatians explains “shall live”; and Hebrews explains “by faith.” (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38).

What is justification? It is the act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous in Jesus Christ. Justification is an act and not a process. No Christian is “more justified” than another Christian. “Having therefore been once-and-for-all justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1, literal translation). Since we are justified by faith, it is an instant and immediate transaction between the believing sinner and God.

God in His grace has put our sins on Christ—and Christ’s righteousness has been put to our account (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Before the sinner trusts Christ, he stands GUILTY before God; but the moment he trusts Christ, he is declared NOT GUILTY and he can never be called GUILTY again!