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Not Justified by Works of Law but Faith in Christ: Galatians 2:15-16

June 28, 2020 Preacher: Bob DeWaay Series: Galatians

Scripture: Galatians 2:15-16

After mentioning Paul’s shared heritage with Peter, whom he had corrected, Paul dealt with the fact that not being sinners like Gentiles was of no value for justification. The reason for that is that law works will never justify anyone. Paul makes “not works” emphatic in this section, using a chiastic structure that we discuss in this sermon. The contrast is between law works and faith in Christ.

We discuss the issue of whether Jesus is the subject or object of faith. Some modern theologians have claimed that Paul is speaking about the faithfulness of Jesus rather than faith in Jesus. The structure of the passage does not bear this out. Though the genitive could be translated that way, Paul uses “believed in Jesus Christ” in a parallel manner with the disputed genitives. He clearly means that Jesus is the proper object of one’s faith whereby there is justification. Justification is forensic and concerns the judicial action of God apart from human merit. Those who trust Jesus’ finished work are justified not by their own righteousness, but by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. We compare this essential truth with the errors of Rome which deny the “alone” aspects of faith, grace, Christ and Scripture. It is the “something more” that leads people away from salvation and the truth of the gospel.