Galatians 2:16-21

Justification By Faith Alone


Today we are going to look at the Doctrine of Justification! There are 5 things that I want us to consider today – from this passage!!!

A)1st – Define What is Justification:

          2nd Discuss How a person is Justified:

                   3rd does the Doctrine of Justification through faith in Christ give             

                         us the freedom to live in sin

:                        4th Discuss what is our relationship to the law now:

                                      5th Consider how this impacts the way we live


B) So let’s begin by Defining What is JUSTIFICATION

1) Justification is the opposite of Condemnation: To condemn means to declare someone guilty


C) To justify means to declare them not guilty / innocent or righteous !!


The Word Justification in the grk is Dikaioo . It is a legal term

A)It means more than the judge simply declaring that you have been forgiven / or Pardoned but it means that the Judge declares you Righteous


B) The Judge Declares you RIGHT ON !!!!! Just as if You never Sinned !!


C) A couple of Wed. nites ago I caught some neighborhood kids – painting graffiti on our Building: Chased them – Danny Ramos

1)   Now we didn’t find them  – But for the sake of the analogy lets say that we did & they were kids from the Church. – blue paint on their hands


D)That being the case we decided that we were going to teach them a lesson We would scare them a bit – Humiliate  them 

1) by bringing up in front of the Church on a Sunday morning –


E) Tell everyone what they did – ask – what should we do ? Paint them Blue – turn over to the police / Work off restitution ? Or Forgive – let go!!

1)   We chose the last one – Forgive - Not Press Charges

If those boys ever came back to Church – how do you think they would feel ?

A)I bet at least for a while – They would feel ashamed / Embarrassed / condemned – afraid to look people in the Eye / Even Resentful


B) Oh they were forgiven – but they were guilty !!! – It would be hard for them to feel accepted –

1)We would have to work extra hard to let them Know – We loved them and that what they did – was water under the Bridge


C) But If we announced that those boys who were wrongly accused we caught the real graffiti artist : Then They would be Justified

1) Now when come – Hold their heads High -  Not Forgiven but Declared Righteous – RIGHT ON!!!



Listen Justification means that when God looks at you – He declares you RIGHTEOUS / RIGHT ON –

A)But here is the Twist – unlike those boys -We were guilty – We sinned & fell short of the GLORY of God !!!


B) But when the Blood of Jesus is applied to our sin – Removes that Sin Completely it is Gone!!!!

1) And in the eyes of the Father it is Just as if It never Happened : Just as if you never sinned !!!! – AMAZING TRUTH !!!!!



Now Consider the Contrast :

A)If I am only forgiven – my whole attitude is different/  I know that God forgave me but I feel like such a jerk /


B) Being around Him makes me feel uncomfortable / reminded of what I did

1) Lord I am such jerk / I am such a loser / thank you for forgiving me / I will try not to cause you any more trouble


C)But I am never ever going to seek to get close to the Lord under those conditions

1)   But when God declares – You are righteous / Justified – Your sins are forgiven & forgotten put as far as the E. from the West /


D) Now I feel I am accepted & Welcome in the Family of God


The Implication is Fantastic- I am no longer scared or embarrassed to come before God because  I know that I have been Justified



B) I AM GUILTY : But God doesn’t see me that way- My sin was transferred to His Son

1)   And the Righteousness of His Son was transferred to me !!

                     So 1st - That is Justification: God declares you righteous


2nd How can a man be JUSTIFIED?  

A)First consider how he is not – v.16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law


B) The Judiazers: The only way to be Justified is thru sheer hard work – You have to keep the law – The 10 Commandments

1) You must do everything the law COMMANDS & Refrain from everything the law FORBIDS!!


C) You need to keep the ten commandments & follow the rituals & regulations in the law of Moses

1)   If you do that God will accept you – that was their message !!!!


Now today People  are not so concerned about the ten commandments – in fact many people / even Christians can not recite them

A)And they have no idea what the ceremonial laws of Moses are / But we have added our own sets of laws & Rules for people to follow


C)We make our own list of Do’s & Don’ts – Our own Laws – What is spiritual – concerning our appearances / activities /

1) But Paul is very clear here – a Man is not Justified by the works of the law – the 10 Commandments – or any other law


A person is justified – declared righteous when they put their faith in JC

A)Jesus came into the world both to live & to Die !!! – But here is the thing: His life had 2 affects on us


B) First of all his life – Condemns us – He lived the perfect life NEVER SINNED !! – He could have said – I did it why CAN’T YOU!!!

1)   I study the gospels & get frustrated – because in looking at HIM  I am reminded of what I am not !!! I AM A SINNER – I DO MESS UP


C) I am not always patient & compassionate like He is / I am not always others centered & giving like He is : The list goes on & on

1)   So on one hand the life of Christ Condemns me – When I am reminded of what I am not !!


D) But it also gives me hope – Because I see what I  will begin – I see what God is wanting to do in my life !!!



So that is affect that His life has on me – But His death – it frees me !!!

A)See on the Cross I know that He died for my law breaking – He died for my sin – He took my Punishment


B) When I place my faith in HIS FINISHED WORK – God looks at me says You are RIGHTEOUS – covered in the righteousness of my Son

 Wipes the slate Clean- White out is applied – never runs out !!!


C) So we are Justified thru faith in JC & not by following some set of rules or Regulations !!! 



Now Are there any Exceptions

A)Paul makes it very clear in v.16  that there are not – notice knowing that A MAN  is not justified by the works of the law


B) Paul is being General here – listen a man ( any man ) can not be justified by keeping the law – but only thru faith in Jesus Christ { It is general}


C) Then he gets personal – even WE have believed in Christ Jesus, that WE might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law;

1)   This even applied to Paul – even we – He was not an exception


D) Just to be sure – He makes it UNIVERSAL - for by the works of the law NO FLESH  shall be justified.

1)That is about as clear as you can get that there are NO EXCEPTIONS – NO MAN / NOT EVEN US / NO FLESH


Now the 3rd thing we want to consider is does the Doctrine of Justification through faith in Christ give us the freedom to live in sin

17 "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.


A)Paul’s critics would argue in this way: This doctrine of Justification thru faith in JC alone, apart from the works of the law is dangerous


B) It fatally weakens a man’s sense of moral responsibility – If he can be accepted thru trusting in Christ & not performing any good works

1)   Then you are actually encouraging him to break the law – you are making Christ a minister of sin !!! Paul’s answer is certainly not


C) In Reality: If we seek to put ourselves back under the law after we have sought to be Justified by faith in JC – it is then that we transgress

1)Seeking to become righteous thru the works of the law –



Listen those of You who are discipling men, you who are ministering to women, you who are teachers, servants, mature saints

A)understand this verse. Do not erect another set of rules and regulations.

You were saved by grace when you simply came to God as a sinner.


B) Now, you are to remain in the realization that to come to the Lord, you must come just as you are

1) not because of what you do, or what you promise to be.


C)Do not erect another set of barriers. The veil was rent when Jesus cried, ‘It is finished,’

1)Don’t sew it up again by adding a new set of rules & Regulations to follow



4th So what is our relationship to the law now that we are believers ?

19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

A)In Romans Ch. 7 Paul deals w/ our relationship to the Law now that we have been saved – Turn there


B) Now Paul paints an interesting picture here to teach us about our relationship to the law as believers

7:1  Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?


C) Now that is something that all of us here would agree w/ especially in a natural sense that as long as a person is living / under law

1)   Commit a crime and you get caught you will pay / speeding …..- but watch how Paul ties this into marriage


2  For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.3  So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.


According to the Law a man could divorce his wife but a wife could not divorce her husband . She was stuck in that marriage as long as he lived .

A)If she married another man she would be called an adulteress  .


B)Now here is the point of Paul’s analogy : Paul is saying You were married to the Law & there was nothing you could do to get away


C) Think of it this way: Ladies pretend you were married to the perfect guy - flawless in character / looks / Health / totally perfect

1) He always puts the toilet seat down / Never leaves tooth paste cap off / Never leaves his dirty socks on floor / never belches in your presence


D) He does everything perfect - He is so perfect that he drives you crazy - because he never does anything wrong -/

1) His perfectness only magnifies your short comings




So there you are stuck in this marriage / you can not divorce him / Only way out is if Hubby dies / but he is too healthy / poison no affect

A) So the guy is not going away - Can’t divorce / can’t leave him -/ can’t kill him / - what are you going to do ?


B) Now that was our situation under the law:  the law was perfect - nothing we could do to get away from it /

1)  like the woman who is bound as long as her husband lives / we were bound to the law / and the law was not going to die !


C) So what is the solution ?   4  Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another; to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God./   V 6  But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by


Listen to what Paul is saying here - the law isn’t going to die - can’t kill it or do away w/ it - So how set free ? YOU DIED

A) See in Romans Ch. 5& 6 – Paul shares a deep spiritual principle concerning our linkage to Christ:


B) Paul shares that everything that happened to Christ Literally - happened to us spiritually

1)  He died Literally / we died spiritually - He was Literally  raised / we have been raised !   -  BAPTISM symbolizes


C) SO When I came to Jesus I was spiritually joined to all He did. When He died, I died with Him. When He rose, I rose.

1)   And when I died I not only died to sin, I died to the Law. I’m no longer connected to a legal standard, but to a living Savior.


So In Christ you are made a completely new person - no longer married to Mr. Law / but now married to Christ / Free to live a different way

A)Which leads us to discuss our final point – The impact that this truth has on our lives – Back to Galatians


B)V 20 says I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, 1)No longer a life of trying to earn God’s favor by my religious works or rituals  / No longer trying to follow a set of do’s &  don’ts


C)but Christ lives in me;

1)   It is the MIRACLE OF THE N/C – God is doing a New thing: Heart of Stone – gives me a heart of Flesh / His Spirit cause me ……..


D) ) The Christian lives the exchanged life. I stop relying on my own energies, and trust Jesus to live His life through me.


E) Not going to live after the flesh – not going to live in Sin – Because His spirit is convicting me and prompting me to live a righteous life

Not a have to – but a get to: Motive?  the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.    

C) Before, Paul’s relationship with God was founded on what he could do for God – his faith was in himself. 

1)   Now, the foundation is what Jesus Christ has done for him / In Him


D)This is why he no longer tries to conform to the law -because it puts his focus on the standard rather than the Savior.

1) When we realize the great love God has shown for us, it makes everything in the Christian life easier.


E) One of the most powerful verses in the NT –look at next time


Paul concludes, "[21] I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."

A)If you could be good enough for God - if salvation could come any other way - don't you think God would have spared Himself the heartache, and His Son a painful death?


B)To say - or let someone else imply - that we can be right with God any other way than through the blood of Jesus is to trample its significance.


C) There are many issues on which we as Christians are called on to take a stand, but none is as important as God's matchless grace.






From this paragraph we learn four important truths

1st Man’s greatest need is Justification or acceptance with God

2nd Justification is not by the works of the law but through faith in JC

3rd If I am trying to be accepted based on my performance I nullify the work of Christ on the Cross in my life

4th To trust in JC is to become united with him in his death & in His Rez