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  • Writer's pictureDr. Roger D Duke

“Jesus Alone is Enough!”

“Jesus Alone is Enough!”

Please enoy The Gospel from “The Leather Journal” of Pastor Phil Newton of the South Woods Baptist Church Memphis, TN. You can find the Church’s other ministries @ This is a service of the A ministry of The Duke Consulting Group

"Jesus Alone is Enough"

“Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

The Galatian churches faced an epic quandary. Was a person counted righteous before God on the basis of works or a combination of works and faith or by faith in Christ alone? Paul had seen this conflict before when he lived in Antioch (chap. 2). Peter had joined him for a time of coming alongside Paul and Barnabas with the new church in Antioch (see Acts 11). Peter had no qualms about enjoying table fellowship with these uncircumcised, non-ceremonial law keeping Gentiles. They had believed the preaching of the gospel, trusting in Christ alone. They were believers, heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ, children of the Father just as equally as the Jews in Jerusalem who had believed in the Jesus Christ of the gospel. But a group of Jews from Jerusalem who professed to be Christians, yet who demanded circumcision and adherence to Jewish ceremonial laws as necessary means to righteousness before God, paid a visit to Antioch. Peter, who had freely enjoyed table fellowship with Gentiles, suddenly and oddly cowered before their intimidating and condemning words. The same Peter who received the heavenly vision that what God declared clean, let no man call unclean (see Acts 10), now crumpled before their shaming voices. Even dependable Barnabas succumbed to the pressure of their presence.

Paul would have nothing of it! These dear friends had confused and clouded the gospel by playing into the intimidation of these subtle opponents (known as Judaizers) and holding themselves aloof from the Gentile believers. “They were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel” (2:14), so this could not go on without eternal damage. Jews have their cultural and religious heritage, which they’re free to practice as long as they do not look to it for righteousness, Paul agreed. But these cultural practices were not to become the basis for justification before God. Rather, “a man is not justified (counted righteous) by the works of the Law, but through faith in Christ Jesus.” As Paul told Peter when he stumbled under this intimidation, you no longer live like a Jew but like a Gentile, in that you depend on Christ alone for justification. So how can you call for Gentiles to live like Jews (by adding ceremonial law requirements) in order to be right with God? “Even we (i.e. those from Jewish heritage who’ve become followers of Jesus) have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law.” Jews were never justified by works anyway, as he later argues (see chap. 3), but by faith, even as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned (counted) to him as righteousness” (3:6).

Therefore, Paul explained, we’ve believed in Christ Jesus, the Jesus of the gospel of His crucifixion and resurrection for sinners, “since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” Otherwise, it would be an act of sinful man making himself righteous before holy God; such a man would have reason to boast before God. “If righteousness comes through the Law,” he argues, “then Christ died needlessly” (2:21). But no! Not through Law! Rather, righteous standing with God comes through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Apart from Jesus alone and His faithful, wrath-absorbing, righteous work for sinners, no one can be counted righteous before God. But in Jesus alone, God counts sinners righteous. That’s all of grace!

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