Notice first of all, these words in connection with those immediately preceding them, as set before us in the word "also." "By whom also we have access." Look at the grand and glorious truth which the Holy Ghost by the apostle gives us in the first verse. Mark it well, but not according to the punctuation of our English translation. See! "Therefore being justified," not, "Therefore being justified by faith," though that is a precious truth, but not the truth of this portion of God's Word. "Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Why do I thus punctuate? Because of the construction of the whole passage, for taking the latter part of the previous chapter in connection with the first part of this fifth chapter, which it really is, we find the statement, "Now it was not written for his (Abraham's) sake alone that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification." Here we see Jesus "delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, into the hands of wicked men to be crucified and slain. (Acts 2:23) Delivered to work out a perfect obedience to God's law, without which, justification would have been an utter impossibility, and to render to Jehovah, in His agonies, bloody sweat, and sin-atoning death, that perfect satisfaction demanded by His righteous law and unbending justice. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the Father's seal upon His perfected salvation. It is the Father's image and superscription upon the pure fine gold of Christ's finished work. It is the Father's declaration of His acceptance of the Surety on the behalf of those for whom He lived and died, and of their acceptance in Him. The resurrection is the assurance of God that every member of the body of Christ stands in Him as having done all that He has done. It is glorious for me to know, that though I deserve nothing but eternal damnation, not only for the sins of my unregeneracy, but for the sins I have committed since first He gave me to experience His rich, free, and sovereign grace; yet, I stand before Him as having done all that Christ my Surety has done. To think that in Him I stand justified, accepted, perfect, and complete, fills the mind with wonder, love, and praise. Christ having accomplished the will of His Father in the presentation of His perfect obedience and all-atoning sufferings, was raised by Him from the dead, received with great triumph into His kingdom in heaven, and there He stands in unchanging union with His Church, the one object of His Father's ineffable complacency and delight. Of Him the Father appears to say, There stands the full expression of My eternal love and affection. In Him My soul delighteth to see all the elect and redeemed ones given to Him before all worlds. As He is in resurrection-life and beauty before My face and in My affections, so are they. In Him they stand, and shall stand perfect and complete in the face of all hell's opposition, the enmity of the world, and the incorrigibility of their wretched, rebellious flesh. What think ye of so glorious a Gospel as this? "Raised again for our justification." In the contemplation of this vast and glorious truth the apostle says, "Therefore being justified." "Therefore," my brethren, beloved of God, who are brought into experimental oneness with the Son of the Father's love, who are washed from all sin in His precious atoning blood, and whose only hope of justification and acceptance with the Father is in the person, obedience, blood, and resurrection of the Accepted One. "Therefore being justified." How? See!
"It is God that justifieth." (Rom. 8:33)
"Justified freely by His grace." (Rom. 3:24)
"Justified by His blood." (Rom. 5:9)
Justified by His obedience. (Rom. 5:19)
Justified by His resurrection. (Rom. 4:25)
Justified by His faith. (Gal. 2:16)
Justified by His Spirit. (1 Cor. 6:11)
Did you notice Rom. 5:19? "For as by the disobedience of one many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous." Let Wesleyans, and those heretics who approach very near to the truth, and who can talk much of the righteousness of God, look at this precious portion: "by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous." Oh, what a glorious truth! Justification by the obedience of Jesus. But some will inquire, Have we not justification by faith? Certainly we have; but it is justification by the faith of Christ. See Gal. 2:16. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ." That is faith! "By the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ." That faith wrought in me, well suits me, and I want no other. Thus I am justified by the Spirit, and the evidences of my justification are those good works which God foreordained that I should walk in them.
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God." We know, to our grief and shame, that we were enemies to God; but He hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ. Look at the 10th verse of this chapter: "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." "We have peace with God." Peace in the covenant. (Ezek. 34:25) Peace through the blood of His cross. (Col. 1:20) Peace in the work of His righteousness. (Isa. 32:17) Peace with God, not by anything of our own, but wholly of God from first to last. "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." See how careful the apostle is at every point that no Arminianism or free-willism shall find a place in this gracious work, those, with what we may call mongrel Calvinism can find no admission into this glorious superstructure of Divine revelation. The only reason why we have peace with God is because Jesus our Head and Representative "was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification." But here we read, "by faith we have peace with God." Through the faith of the Head communicated to the members we have peace, introduction, and communion with God, and not by faith, hope, striving, praying, or any endeavors of ours, but wholly through Jesus Christ our Lord.
"By whom also we have access into this grace wherein we stand." Did you notice that connecting link? "Also." This is a loop of heavenly blue which blessedly unites all blessings with the Blesser, and a justified state with the right and privilege of leaning upon the arm of Jesus and entering into the presence of His Father and ours. Was He delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification? Then we must be justified, we must have peace with God, and all through Him. Ay, and more too. Listen! "By whom also we have access into this grace wherein we stand." "By whom." Let us dwell upon these precious words, and may His good Spirit give us a right understanding and comprehension of them. Look at Rom. 8:2. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Mark that, in Christ Jesus, not from, toward, or about, but in Christ Jesus. Here I am a free man standing in glorious oneness with Him. Delivered from the authority of darkness. Liberated from the captivity of Satan. Freed from the dominion of sin. This is not my experience every day of the week, nor every moment I stand in this pulpit; but it is so when God sweetly leads my mind into the enjoyment of that liberty wherewith Christ Himself makes His people free. "By whom." The child of God as led by the Spirit of God does not say, I have access by my faith; but by the faith of Him. He does not say, By my sweet singing I enjoy communion with Him; but by Him who said, "In the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto Thee." He does not boast of his striving; but humbly acknowledges the energizings of the blessed Spirit within. O what a marvelous mercy it is for me to know that all I am to God, with God, and before God is by Jesus Christ in covenant, crucifixion, and communication.
Now my text today speaks to this in Galatians chapter two. And I want to read from verse 16 down to verse 21.
"Knowing that a man is not justified [and that word means declared righteous or acquitted from guilt] by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."
You ask, “Well, what brought on this statement here by the apostle Paul to the Galatians?”
Well, if you will read a little earlier in the chapter in Galatians chapter two it was over an incident that occurred between Paul and Peter. Now remember, again, I said that Peter if he was the Lord’s, it was not because of anything in him. And this is evident even after the crucifixion, even after Christ’s resurrection, even after his denial of Christ there on the eve of his crucifixion where when the Lord came out of the judgment hall he looked upon Peter and Peter wept. The Lord brought him to repentance, but here again we find Peter living in hypocrisy because it says in the verses previous that when he was in Antioch Peter would sit down and eat with the Gentiles. He didn’t have a problem with it until the Jews showed up. And then when the Jews showed up, what Peter did was stand up and act like he hadn’t been eating with the Gentiles. He withdrew from them and separated himself.
And that is why Paul when he came and saw what was going on, this hypocrisy in Galatians chapter two and verse 14, he says, “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”
In other words, he was acting as if their spirituality depended upon how they behaved, one way with the Gentiles, another way with the Jews. And so Paul uses that example to show that if that were the case none could be saved. That here is his declaration in verse 16 again, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law.”
In other words, by his observance of the law in any way or his keeping of the law or attempts to keep the law. A man is not justified by the works of the law, but it says here by the faith of Jesus Christ.
Three different times in this passage of Scripture we have that statement, by the faith of Jesus Christ. That is different than the saying by faith in Jesus Christ. There are some who would contend that it is by your faith in Jesus Christ that God justifies you. But, dear friend, what is the difference between saying that and saying you just keep the law? Who has perfect faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Who has never wavered? Who has seen him plainly and completely without faltering? I certainly can’t say that. And I know that you can’t.
No, our justification before God, if God has been pleased to save us, it is based upon the faith of Jesus Christ, that faith which is of him. In other words, he obeyed perfectly the law. He submitted perfectly to his Father. He trusted perfectly in God and worked out that perfect righteousness.
So it is by the faith of Jesus Christ.
Another way of reading that would be the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. That is the only basis upon which any sinner is saved, the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
There are some things that those that have been taught of God know concerning being justified by Christ alone. And that is the language of Scripture in verse 17 of Galatians two.
We read, “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ...”
That is certainly my hope. I do not seek to be justified by my works. I do not seek to be justified by my so-called service for God. No, my desire is to be justified by Christ alone.>/p>
I pray that is your desire.
Now here are some things we know. First of all as it says here in verse 16. We know that it is by Christ alone because we know that no one is justified by the law. That is just the plain statement and language of Scripture.
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law...” in other words by the deeds of the law, by his trying to keep the law.
And you say, “Well, why not?”
Well, here is the second reason. We know that we are justified by Christ alone and that is because the law requires perfect obedience. And because it requires perfect obedience, we know that none can be justified by that law. There is no flexibility in the law of God, dear friend. If you have sinned, even in thought...
You say, “Well, I didn’t say a bad word.”
Well, you thought it. Even in thought, word or deed, you stand condemned before the law of God.
In Galatians chapter three and verse 10 we read this. “For as many as are of the works of the law...”
Now this is not talking about outward blatant people running in open sin as the world would define it. No, but as man as are of the works of the law, in other words they make the keeping of the law their boast in righteousness and their hope of salvation. Listen to the Scripture. It says they are under the curse.
“For it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”
And then verse 11 very plainly says, “ But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.”
Now here faith is put in opposition to the law. It is a synonym of grace, but it is also a synonym of Christ. You could very easily substitute the name faith there for Christ.
The just shall live by Christ. He is their justification. All right? So we know that no one is justified by the law. We know this from the law itself that requires perfect obedience. Bu we know this also from the gospel.
In Colossians chapter two and verses nine and 10 we read that we are made complete in Christ. It is not by our works that we are saved. I know some say, “Well up until the point you believe, you are forgiven of those sins, but from there forward, it is up to you now to keep the faith and to complete that salvation.”
No, listen to Colossians chapter two and verses nine and 10.
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."
Now that is the declaration of the gospel. If a person has been chosen in Christ, redeemed by Christ, he has been justified by Christ and that calling of the gospel to Christ is aw ay from any works of the flesh and any thought of righteousness in one’s self and looking to Christ alone, justified by Christ alone.