A man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ.Galatians 2:16 [beginning of verse]
How are you justified? It seems that people make themselves justified by doing various things. Even Christians can fall right back into working for their justification leaving Christ behind. I pray this does not happen but when we read the word of God, God brings warnings about the subject of justification and how it is applied. Thus, the apostle Paul in his writings to the Galatian churches gave warnings about mixing the purity of doctrine with conduct and distorting the Gospel of Christ. The cleverness of some who exhort their authority to teach a different doctrine will in part go along with salvation is from Christ, but then insist that one should also work for their salvation as well. It is like saying “let’s cover all our basis just in case.” just in case of what? That our salvation is assured? That we are justified by our own efforts?
Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.Galatians 2:6 [ending of verse]
The apostle Paul tells the Galatians that the works of the law no flesh[man] will be justified. How do we establish the law and its meaning? The do and don’t rules have been designated by God with the ten commandments and how the Jewish people followed the “torah” that provided instruction on behavior and conduct for living. Tradition is the discipline in how we live and treat each other that is handed down from generation to generation. The customs that each nation has is derived from its indigenous population. For the Jewish population it is the establishment and the correct practice and interpretation of the “Torah.” The Jewish rule may be seen as common law even though to some it may seem as codified. In essence it is a matter of interpretation and what is happening at that specific time. Historians are at times baffled and continue to argue to this day. If we get down to the root of the problem in God’s eye it will always be a matter of the human heart.
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh,” [see Matthew 15:6, KHV]. This is the root of the problem our heart. We speak of what is in our heart, what is in our mind as we personally perceived it to be. In Proverbs 23:7, it is said “as he thinked in his heart, so is he.” We are in life is what we become through what we think. Jesus said that it was the traditions that made the commandment of God ineffectual [see Matthew 15:3-9]. maybe we should give this a little more thought since we are so easily influenced to go back into legalistic ways of keeping a standard of rules in order for God to accept us.
The Hebrew root word for salvation is “Yeshua,” which means the Lord is Salvation and it carries on with the meaning of freedom from that which binds or restricts. Now if we look at the Hebrew word for justifies “sadaq,” is carries the meaning of condemnation that brings judgement. What Paul is conveying in Galatians chapter 2 verse 16 is that Jesus is the only way that we can have freedom from that which binds or restricts us to where we will not have condemnation or judgment. Our freedom from condemnation is only through Jesus Christ because He is the final sacrifice for all our sins. We cannot earn God’s favor by doing or keeping certain traditions or laws of man. This is not God’s method for reconciliation no matter how good it sounds. We receive God’s favor through the finished work of Jesus Christ. We receive it through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, not by any efforts we do ourselves.
If justification was by our works, then why did Jesus die for our sins? Justification by our works nullifies what Jesus has done on the cross. It also nullifies the ministry of reconciliation towards God and each other. Did you know that nullify means to remove the force? Would we deny the force of Christ sacrifice on the cross to save us from the oppression of the evil one? Be careful to what you subject yourself too [such as any social movement], it could bring you under bondage. Legalism in the church lacks joy because they feel they deserve something from God by doing good works. Legalism in the church compares themselves with others thinking that they are better than others. “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known,” said Jesus to his disciples in Luke 12:1-2. Pharisees followed strict observance of the traditional and written law claiming that they were more righteous than other people. The truth was that they could not even follow their own words they spoke or told others to do.
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”Galatians 3:24
That is why Paul stated that the law is our schoolmaster to bring us back to Christ. Did you know that there is power in the blood of Christ? That power gave us His righteousness, His faith, and His love. He gives us the victory over the evil one and even death. He also gives us eternal life. Let us come to Jesus and place our faith in Him alone and nothing us. Let us ask Jesus to keep us free from that which binds or restricts us in any way from His power and from who Jesus is, the son of God, who came in the flesh, and arose to sit on the right hand of God ever making intercession for all of us. Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Let us not nullify who He is or His power to save us all from the evil one, our sins, and our pride. Jesus truly is our justification, and it is by our faith in him alone not by anything we can do ourselves that we are justified. Let us praise God for providing us the way to reconciliation.
Listen to a Messianic classic song titled “The Sacrifice Lamb” sung by Joel Chernoff. In the early 1970’s the duo group “Lamb,” who was Joel Chernoff and Rick Coyhill came on the scene with this wonderful song titled “The Sacrifice Lamb.” This song has always touched my heart, and I pray it will touch yours as well.