I’m really showing off my geek badge here, but it’s true: I love editing. I can’t read anything without wanting to pull out a red pen, eliminate the word clutter, fix the grammatical mistakes, and improve the writing in any way I can. I even self-edit text messages before sending them. (Don’t worry, I don’t edit other people’s texts!) 😉
When I read Galatians 2:16, I want to reach for my red pen. Paul seems to be running around in circles, saying the same thing over and over:
“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so 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)
We’re not justified by works but by faith . . . And we have believed, so we are justified . . . Oh, and did I mention that it’s by faith in Christ and not by works? . . . Right, because no one can be justified by the works of the law. Ok, Paul! We get it!
Why isn’t Paul being more concise? Did he forget to run this letter by his editor?
I think Paul is being wordy and repetitive on purpose. He knows we will read this and mentally agree with it, but then an hour later we’ll be out there acting like it’s up to us to earn God’s favor. It’s so ingrained in our human nature to think our value depends on our performance.
This is good news we need to hear over and over and over again: We are justified through faith in Christ and not by works of the law. To be justified means we are declared righteous by God. He looks at Jesus and sees His perfect record of righteousness. Based on His perfection, we are declared righteous. We could never earn this righteousness, but God gives it to us as a free gift of His grace.
If you didn’t earn it, you can’t lose it. Justification by faith is a certainty we can cling to even when we fall short, mess up, or even fail miserably.
No matter what you face this week, you are justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law.Share