“We also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).
A core question in Paul’s days, and still, is how people can be justified. Can we earn our own salvation, or at least contribute to it? If we obey the law, would that make us just before God?
In principle, it could. If we would never sin and be completely righteous, we would be just before God. But the problem is that no human ever manages to do that. We are born sinful, and we just make things worse as we grow older. Therefore, “by works of the law no one will be justified”.
On the one hand, that shows how desperate our attempts to win God’s favor are. We really are that sinful. We really can’t save ourselves.
On the other hand, this is liberating. For there is another solution, offered to us by God: we can be justified “by faith in Christ”. We can’t save ourselves, and we don’t have to. Jesus Christ justifies us if we believe in Him.
This gospel is the same for all people: Jews and Gentiles, in Paul’s days and nowadays.
Do you believe in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by Him?