Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #55
Posted: August 12, 2005

A Study of Positional Truths

We turn our attention this week to another nugget of ‘IN CHRIST’ truths.  It may be overlooked by the casual reader.  This nugget is found in Galatians 2:16 which says, Knowing that a man is not justified 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.” 

Paul desires that his readers know some things.  The word ‘knowing’ is the Greek word ‘eido’.  It is a past action that continues into the present.  It is not a natural knowledge one is born with but a spiritual knowledge one is gifted with.  The word ‘knowing’ means to see and to behold with understanding.  It is not a voluntary glance but an emphatic, intense, earnest, continual, and inspecting gaze.  It causes one by an outside force to discern to the point it becomes their experience.  We see right away this is more than a mental assent of saying ‘I believe in Jesus’, ‘one dunking me in a baptismal poor’, and then give me the assurance that at death heaven will be my home.  If I have ever supernaturally known God I will need no one to assure me by words or deeds. 

Paul then begins to speak of being ‘justified’.  He uses the word three times in this one verse.  It is the verb ‘dikaioo’ in the Greek which means to declare one righteous, holy, and innocent.  This is a legal term.  It speaks of a one-time declaration.  This is not a parole but a pardon.  It has been described by some as ‘just as if I had never sinned’.  In Christ I am just like Him. There are no ‘ifs’ in Him.  God sees me as having never sinned. 

Paul wants us to know that this declaration of justification is not because of our ‘works of the law’.   The ‘works of the law’ would be those rules of morality that we might perform because of our natural conscience to do good. 

Paul wants us to know of the origin and operation of being justified.  He makes two statements that give us the origin of justification.  The statements are: “…by the faith of Jesus Christ…and…that we might be justified by the faith of Christ.”  We know the great basis of origin is ‘faith’.  The Greek word is ‘pistis’ which means a firm persuasion, a firm conviction based upon hearing.  This is not ours by natural indwelling but it belongs to Christ.  It is His faith.  He must give it as a gift. (Ephesians 2:8-9)  We see that salvation begins with Him and comes to us.  It is not decision based with us and then reached to Him.  In the definition of faith there was an ability to hear.  We immediately see faith would involve Him giving us a heart ear to hear Him speak. 

Paul also wants us to know of justifications operation.  We see its operation in the statement, “…even we have believed in Jesus Christ…”  It is here we have our positional truth.  The word ‘believe’ is the Greek word ‘pisteao’.  It is the root of the phrase “…the faith of Jesus Christ…”  It is the action that occurs from or because of the gift given of His faith.  It is a past ‘ed’ tense.  This tells us there was a past action that caused a present reaction.  He gave us His faith and it caused us to believe.

Some have asked, ‘which came first, the quickening of salvation called regeneration, or our believing in Him?’  It is clear from the text that regeneration is first because it is here we are given the ear to hear and the ability to put a firm persuasion of confidence in Him. 

Paul tells us that by the ‘works of the law’ no ‘flesh shall be justified’.  Martin Luther, when he began the Protestant Reformation that withdrew him from Catholic church, was spiritually awakened by the thought, ‘We are justified by faith alone’.  It was that word ‘alone’ God used to quicken and save his religious but sin sick soul.  He was later led to write,

A Mighty Fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing. Did we In our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.  Were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing.  Dost ask who that man may be?  Christ Jesus it is He, Lord Sabaoth is His name.  From age to age the same and He must win the battle.”