Justification byFaith Essay

This essay has a total of 1663 words and 8 pages.

Justification byFaith

In verse 15, Paul writes, "We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners” Paul
seems to be telling his gentile reader that the Torah has no bearing on their salvation. I
feel that he purposely or inadvertently gives the law merit more merit than intended by
suggesting that Jews are not sinners because they received the law. He draws a distinction
between himself and “the gentile sinners” yet he is telling his audience that
the ways, some of which are still a part of his own way of life, are irrelevant. He seems
to almost make a separation of culture and religion. He seems to be saying that the
rectitude of the Jews dates from birth, because the Jewish religion is a part of their
culture. Peter claims to live up to the requirements of the Law. He had circumcision, the
covenant, the promises, the apostleship. But in spite of his advantages as a Jew he still
lets readers know that the law alone cannot save them.

Verse 16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the
faith of Jesus Christ.” this is one of the clearest definitions in Scripture
regarding the way in which we can become justified. Here in Galatians 2:16, justification
deals with the fact that we cannot be justified—or given good standing before
God—through our obedience to the Law of Moses. According to Paul, it must be given
to us by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ.

Verse 16 “Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by faith
in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by
doing the works of the law.”

The later part of verse 16 shows how much Paul has dedicated his work to the concept of
justification by faith. Some would say that the reason for his adamant insistance of faith
in Christ is related to his vision on the way to Damascus. It was such an incredible
experience that he felt that every one needed to know that it was by faith alone that they
could be justified. As a devout Jew he had followed the Law his entire life and felt it
important that people know that in spite of his doing all the works of the Torah he was
not justified before his vision.

Verse 17.” But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are

found sinners; is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.”

Some critics of this passage would argue that there are two sets of behavior standards
given for Christian and Jews. In order to obtain salvation in Jewish faith one must
follow the rule of like and ceremony. In order that a Christian obtain salvation they must
only believe in Christ. Some were worried that this new religion would be saturated by
people who wanted to commit acts against the law and still be saved because they professed
to believe in Christ. The concept of grace and mercy was a foreign one and harsh judgment
was a reality of the day. The other part of this verse was, is Christ a master of sin?

Paul knew that some would argue that if all Christian had to do was believe that Christ
must be a proponent of sin because he didn’t threaten any penalty comparable to that
of the old testament. Paul inserted that Christ was certainly not a master of sin.

The Martin Luther commentary of Galatians states “ All who say that faith alone in
Christ does not justify a person, convert Christ into a minister of sin, a teacher of the
Law, and a cruel tyrant who requires the impossible. All merit-seekers take Christ for a
new lawgiver. “ Martin Luther is saying that if Christ had required more than
belief he would be a Minister of sin because that much pressure on people is cruelty.

He also wrote in is commentary; “The Law drives us away from God, but Christ
reconciles God unto us, for "He is the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the
world." Now if the sin of the world is taken away, it is taken away from me. If sin is
taken away, the wrath of God and His condemnation are also taken away. Let us practice
this blessed conviction. “ The concept of God’s wrath being taken away is
interesting and beautiful. This notion of Agape being practiced by God is important to me
as a Christian because then I in turn seek to practice the same type of forgiveness in my

Verse 18. “For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a
transgressor.” Paul’s reiteration of Grace and Mercy is especially pronounced
in this passage. Paul is saying that he is not simply repackaging the law. He wants us to
know that this is truly a new “covenant with Gods people. This is an
all-encompassing love for all people that would believe in him. No string attached. Paul
is saying that if he were to simply re-present the law that he would be wasting his time.
He is also saying that he himself would be guilty of some sin if those were his

Verse 19. “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.”
“Here Paul plays the Law against the Law, as if to say the Law of Moses condemns me;
but I have another law, the law of grace and liberty which condemns the accusing Law of
Moses. On first sight Paul seems to be advancing a strange and ugly heresy. He says, "I am
dead to the law, that I might live unto God." The false apostles said the very opposite.
They said, "If you do not live to the law, you are dead unto God." Paul imparts upon his
readers the importance of being fully committed to this covenant by going so far as to
“die” to the law. He wants Christians to view the law as a prison of old. His
writing would indicate that if followers of Christ leave the old covenant in the past and
embrace the new system of justification implemented by Christ, the will experience a new
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