The troubling issue.
The method of salvation was an all-consuming issue among both, the Jews who accepted Jesus as the Messiah, and Jews who did not. For both groups of Jews, the entire Torah with its ten commandments was the only way to salvation. Paul forcefully refutes this premise. Jews did not have the ceremonial law only the Torah, the Law of Moses. Paul, therefore, in his letter to the Galatians is addressing the entire Torah, including the ten commandments. The critical point Paul makes is that Torah with its ten commandments, while the good of itself, could not be imposed as a requirement for salvation.
“We are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Jesus Christ, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:15, 16, NET). Paul asserts that we are justified and saved by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, not by our faith in Jesus Christ. If we are justified and saved by our faith in Jesus Christ then, that would be salvation by works because our faith in Jesus Christ is something we do. Paul is clear that we are justified and saved only by what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross at Golgotha on our behalf. Jesus Christ came to save the world. He remained faithful to His mission, and by His faithfulness, He justified and saved the humankind from guilt and punishment for sin against the law, committed in the garden of Eden. Through our faith in Jesus Christ, our justification and salvation by His faithfulness become our visible personal experience.
The Torah, the first five books of the Bible, consists of the law, (the ten commandments), the rules, decrees, and stipulations. Therefore, when Paul speaks of the “not justified by law” he refers to the Ten Commandments. The Justification and salvation of sinners could not come through the law because the law condemned the sinners to eternal death. The law was not designed to do both, condemn and justify, only condemn because of its nature. Therefore, the justification comes through grace alone; the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, nothing else.
Will continue in the next blog.