How are we saved? Paul is dealing with the heart of this very issue. We read these verses yesterday, but want to focus on them again for one more day. Galatians 2:17-20.
But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
Galatians 2:17-21 NASB
Christ came with the purpose to seek and to save sinners. But how does he do that? As Paul is discussing this topic, he makes a very interesting statement in verse 21. He indicates that if righteousness came through the law then Christ died in vain. If we have the ability to save ourselves, Christ would never have had to die on the cross. If we could, through the law, live the life that is pleasing to God, then Christ’s sacrifice would never have been needed.
God gave the law to the Jews in the Old Testament, but he did so in order for the people to clearly see their inability to measure up. They would never be good enough on their own. We will never be good enough on our own. No one can keep the law perfectly for the whole of their life. That is why Christ had to come. That is why Christ had to die. He is the only one who kept the law and as a result, he can become the sacrifice on our behalf.
This is such a key understanding of the Christian life. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. We can never be good enough. Even after we become saved and ask Christ in our heart, the works that we try to do on our own will never measure up to what God has for us. What is important is that we are allowing Christ to live through us. Only he can fulfill the law and only he does works that are pleasing to God. Are we trusting in our own works to get us into heaven? Only Christ. Only Christ. Only Christ. He is the only way we are made right with God.