The Faith of Jesus Christ Gal. 2:15-21 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In Gal 2:16 we find this phrase, the faith of Jesus Christ. This is the faith of which Jesus is the author and finisher [Heb 12:2]. This is the faith given to us at salvation [Eph 2:8-9]. This is the faith that we must have in order to be saved [Rom 10:8-10]. The reason we need the faith of Jesus Christ is that by it we receive three principle things which we must have and that we cannot get through the works of the law. By the faith of Jesus Christ and not by the law we receive:
Justification – Gal 2:15-18 – Paul said, “… a man is not justified by the works of the law” – if justification were available under the law then you would find some reference to justification in the Old Testament – the word “justification” is not in the Old Testament – however, other forms of the word “justify” are found – notice these references: Job 25:4-6 how then can a man be justified with God? Ps 143:2 for in thy sight shall no man living be justified – the only two references to people being justified in the Old Testament [apart from the simple outcome of a case at law] are references to them being justified by the Lord and not by the law [Is 53:11; Is 45:17, 25] – both of these are the result of justification by Jesus Christ [Acts 13:38-39].
Paul said, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law” – he and the other Jews [Gal 2:15] already knew that they could not be justified by the works of the law from their own inability to keep the law [Acts 15:10; Rom 3:19-20] – the law was not written to justify man but to point to justification through Jesus Christ [Gal 3:22-25]. We are justified freely by his grace [Rom 3:24; Rom 5:16] – we are justified by faith [Rom 5:1; Gal 2:16] – we are justified by his blood [Rom 5:8-9].
Once I have been justified by the faith of Christ [Rom 3:28], I can then be found a sinner [Gal 2:17] according to the law because I am under no obligation to fulfill the works of the law concerning things like circumcision, unclean meats, and the Sabbath [Gal 5:1-4] – when Paul began building again the church that he destroyed [Gal 2:18, 1:13, 1:23] he made himself a transgressor because he was no longer keeping these laws and he was preaching that others didn’t have to keep these laws.
Life – Gal 2:19-20 – when you receive Christ by faith you simultaneously die and come to life – you die “in Christ” who died for our sins [Rom 6:3, 6-7; 7:4-6; Gal 2:20a] and thus through the law you are dead to the law by the body of Christ because the penalty of death under the law has been satisfied [Rom 6:23a] – and yet you live because Christ rose from the dead [Gal 2:20; Rom 6:4-5, 8-11; Rom 6:23b] and is now living in you – you cannot have his life unless you have been “crucified with Christ.”
Righteousness – Gal 2:21 – righteousness did not “come” by the law – Deut 6:25 said, “it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments” – the law couldn’t give righteousness; you would simply have your own righteousness if you could observe to do all these commandments [as Paul said, “having mine own righteousness,” Phil 3:9a] – furthermore, keeping the law would only preserve your life and keep you in the land [Deut 6:23-24] – keeping the law could not give you eternal life [Gal 3:21-22; Matt 19:16-22].
Righteousness came by Jesus Christ [Rom 10:3-4] and, therefore, to get it you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ [Rom 3:21-26; Phil 3:9b] – by trusting him we are “made the righteousness of God in him,” [2 Cor 5:21].
Conclusion: The faith of Jesus Christ is the only means by which you can receive justification, life and righteousness – the law is incapable of giving you any of these – and without justification, life and righteousness in Christ you would never have eternal life.