Can you explain Galatians 2:15-21?


Galatians 2     15 “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 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 by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is

Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God20 I have been crucified with Christ; 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 for me21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

The apostle Paul, writing here to the Christian church in Galatia, is contrasting salvation by works (keeping the law to be saved) with salvation by God’s grace, which we receive by faith in Jesus. He stresses a few times that we cannot be saved by keeping the law, in other words, we cannot save ourselves. The only way of salvation is God’s free gift to us, which Jesus made possible on the cross, because He took all of our sins on Himself, and paid the price of our salvation by His death. If we believe that Jesus made salvation and eternal life possible for us, and accept God’s gift of grace, we will be saved. But if we do not believe, but try to be saved by keeping God’s law, we will be lost. 

In verses 17 to 19, he says that even when he accepts God’s gift, and believes, he is still a sinner, because the law shows him his sins. And when he again tries to keep the law, because he sees that he is a sinner, he becomes a lawbreaker. But when he accepts that the keeping of the law cannot save him, he stops trying to save himself (died to the law), and starts to live a life dedicated to God. Verse 20 is the most well-known verse of the passage, which says that because my sins were on Jesus at the cross, I also died there with Jesus. That means that I am no longer trying to live a sinless life, but that Jesus, who lives in me, is living the perfect life for me. So the life that I now live, is a life lived entirely trusting and depending on Jesus, who loves me so much that He died on the cross in my place.

Finally, in verse 21, he says that if it were possible to be saved by keeping the law, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins, was in vain. For that reason, he sticks to belief in God’s grace as the only way to be saved.

Ephesians 2     For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of your-selves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

I trust that this makes sense to you. God bless!