GALATIANS - Christ is our Justification.
During the Apostle Paul`s second missionary journey, he was delayed in Galatia by sickness. Though ill, this tireless servant of the Lord could not remain silent, but kept preaching God`s word. His theme was Christ crucified. (Gal. 3: 1)
It was at this time that many people became believers in Galatia. (Gal 1: 6) They were scattered over a rural district and the people were country folk. Teachers of the law followed after Paul moved on. They taught salvation by works, claiming that the believers should be circumcised, and do the works of the law.
These teachers explained that the reason Paul had not taught them this was because he was not a true apostle and had learned his doctrine from others. This had upset the new converts.
False teachers had begun to `bewitch` the people by telling them they must keep all kinds of ceremonies. Paul wanted them to know that nothing, no fetishes, or works, or ceremonies, could bring them to Christ. Salvation comes by believing in Christ - nothing else.
Being very fickle and loving something new and a change, the Galatian believers were on the verge of accepting the views of these false teachers. Paul saw the urgency and quickly wrote this letter to them.
`I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.` (Gal 1: 6)
He defended his apostleship saying that his teaching was authorized by God Himself. (Gal. 1: 11 - 24) He proves that he received his teaching directly from the Lord. He did not consult with any one as to what he should preach but retired to the wilds of Arabia for three years and there listened to God. He was taught by the Spirit.
Paul even had to rebuke Peter for being two-faced about Jewish customs when he was at Antioch. Their friendship still held after this severe test.
So what does justified mean? God credits to my account what Christ has done - just-as-if-I`d done it. A criminal is pardoned though he cannot be regarded as righteous. But justification is that act of God whereby He not only forgives us but puts Christ`s righteousness to our account. He gives us righteousness not our own but Christ`s.
`...knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not the works of the law, for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.` (Gal. 2: 16)