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“We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
“But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (Galatians 2:15-21 ESV)


• What are the “works of the law” being spoken of here?​
• What does faith in Jesus Christ look like, biblically speaking?​
• What does it mean to be justified by faith?​
• What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?​

[Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:10-11; Romans 6:22; 1 John 3:2-3]

Having some historical background here helps us in understanding what this is teaching us, plus we need to read all of the book of Galatians in order for us to fully comprehend what is being taught here correctly, for context is critical to correct biblical interpretation. And I would include Romans and Colossians in that, too, for they also deal with this subject quite a bit.

Okay, so under the Old Covenant that God had with his people Israel, who were then Jews only, they were given not only the 10 commandments of God, by Moses, but multiple liturgical and ceremonial and sacrificial and purification and dietary laws and restrictions that they were required to follow. You can probably read most of these in the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). And the Abrahamic covenant included the requirement for circumcision of males.

But when Jesus Christ (God the Son) was crucified on that cross to deliver us out of our slavery to sin, all those Old Covenant liturgical and ceremonial laws were done away with, but God’s moral laws remained intact. But the problem that Paul was dealing with was that of the Judaizers who were trying to convince the Christians that they had to add on to their salvation some of these Old Covenant laws, especially the law of circumcision. So Paul wrote to the Romans and to the Galatians and the Colossians (and others) to correct this wrong and to make it right. But this can be a confusing subject.

But then read what Paul wrote in Romans 8:3-8 ESV:

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

So, what is this saying? Going through the motions of obeying all those OC liturgical and ceremonial laws saved no one from their sins. But the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. For what does it say? “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” So we are not free from God’s moral laws. We are not free to continue living in sin because we aren’t under the Old Covenant.

And faith in Jesus Christ, which is biblical faith, is not of ourselves. It is not of our own doing – not of the will of man nor of the flesh. So we don’t get to decide what this faith looks like. God does. His word does. And it teaches that Jesus is the author and the perfecter of that faith, and that faith is gifted to us by God, and it is persuaded of God, for no one can come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God first draws us to Christ. And God persuades us as to his righteousness and holiness and of our sinfulness and of our need to turn from our sins and to now follow Jesus in obedience to his commands.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; John 1:12-13; John 6:44; John 10:27-30; Acts 26:18; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 1 Co 10:1-22; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-24; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:1-17; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Pet 2:24; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

And what does it mean to be justified by faith? It means to be made right with God, to be made righteous, to meet God’s judicial approval, to show what is right, to conform to a proper standard (what is upright), and it means to be cleared of all charges.

And all the noted Scriptures above teach what those standards are. For the faith that comes from God, which is not of ourselves, results in us being crucified with Christ in death to sin and raised with Christ to walk in newness of life him, no longer to live as slaves to sin but as slaves to God and to his righteousness. For if sin is what we are obeying, it leads to death, but if obedience to God is what we are obeying, its end is eternal life.

So, being crucified with Christ so that “I” (the flesh, self-life) no longer live, but Christ is now living his life in and through me, by his grace, can only come by us dying with Christ to our old lives of living in sin so that we now, by his grace and in his power, walk (in conduct, in practice) in obedience to his commands in holy living and no longer in deliberate and habitual sin. So just because we are not under the OC liturgical and ceremonial laws does not give us the freedom to keep living in sin and not in walks of obedience to our Lord and to his NC commands (see Galatians 5:16-21).

To Be Like Him

An Original Work / March 16, 2014
Based off Scripture

Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.

Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.

Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!

When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.