Justified by Faith

Jewish people in the first century had four boundary markers. These boundary markers determined who was part of God’s family or not. They determined who was considered righteous and who was a sinner.

The boundary markers were circumcision, food laws, the Law or Torah, and the Sabbath.

Paul reflected a common belief about boundary markers and wrote, “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not gentile sinners” (Galatians 2.15).

The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, plus the gift of the Holy Spirit transformed the idea of “righteous” and “sinners.”

Thus, Paul continued his thought and wrote, “yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through the faith of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2.16).

If you imagine the boundary markers as those which determine who belongs to God, persons who fulfill them are righteous and included in God’s family.

Paul argued that the activity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit justified people. That is, faith in the finished work of Christ qualified people to be part of God’s family.

To emphasize this point, he said: “And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law” (Galatians 2.16).

Justified by the Faith of Christ

Let’s not miss the wording of verse 16. Before we trust our lives to Jesus, we are “justified by the faith of Christ.”

The Greek word that is translated as “faith” can also be translated as “faithfulness.” I agree with those who think “faithfulness” is more accurate in this instance.

The faithfulness of Christ to be God’s ultimate sacrifice for the sins of humanity is what makes justification possible.

Christ is the Greek word for Messiah. It is a title, not Jesus’ last name. Israel’s long-awaited Messiah (or Christ) fulfilled Isaiah 53 to do what every other means was not able to accomplish.

Humanity’s sin problem was so great that it took the faithful sacrifice of Jesus to change our relationship with God.

When humans trust their lives to the finished work of the Messiah, they receive the Holy Spirit and are transformed into God’s new creations.

Paul described this fact, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; look, new things have come into being!” (2 Corinthians 5.17).

I hope you listen to the YouTube video that Rudy Ross and I produce each day. Rudy tells how he met Jesus as his Lord and Savior and what Jesus is currently doing in his life.

Dallas Willard Video

I frequently listen to Dallas Willard on YouTube. Willard’s message in the link below seeks to clarify the confusion that surrounds salvation.

The video by Willard is about one hour in length. I recommend that you listen to it in segments and prayerfully meditate on his teaching.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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