Updated: May 5, 2020
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-5)
How can we serve God and love him well without doing things to earn right standing with him? It’s built in our human nature that in order to be appreciated, recognized, deemed worthy and even called “good” (Mark 10:18), we must do good deeds. Paul writes contrary to this and says we can only be justified by faith alone and not works (Galatians 2:16)
What is justification
Justification is the act of being declared righteous in the sight of God, to be in right standing with him, to be as though we never sinned. It is the pardoning sentence given to a guilty sinner, to be seen blameless and pure. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).
Paul states that there is no amount of good works man could ever do that is worthy of justification. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith (Romans 3:27). A person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.
How do we become justified?
For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing (Galatians 2:21).
Jesus Christ fulfilled the law completely leaving not a single stroke of ink unfulfilled (Matthew 5:18). When he was asked about the greatest commandment he said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:34-40).
The law presented a list of rules that the Israelites had to obey. The consequences of breaking the law God gave was sin (Leviticus 4:1-2), the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
Paul advocates justification through faith and points it to Christ who is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified (Galatians 2:16).
The righteous will live by faith
The fundamental basis of right standing with God is Justification through faith.
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law (Romans 3:28) and therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). The Law has become our tutor leading us to Christ, that we may be justified (Galatians 3:24). A person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him, but the righteous will live by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4).
The key to justification.
We accept the salvation plan that Jesus offers us. Jesus died on the cross that we may be forgiven of our sins. We were called from the beginning to be in fellowship with God, Jesus became the way and access point for us to be justified by grace through his redeeming sacrifice. The key to justification is faith.
We cannot in our own accord place ourselves in right standing with God, “For it is impossible to please God without faith” (Hebrews 11:6) therefore to be justified by faith, is to have complete confidence in God, to trust in the work of the cross that brings salvation, and to live according to the will God has purposed for us.
Bible project on the book of Galatians