Justified in Christ
The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus and said, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3, emp LS). Today we continue our study of the "spiritual blessings" that we can have "in Christ".
4. Justification. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of ("in" NASB) Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of ("in" NASB) Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16). The term "justified" means, "to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous...to declare guiltless one accused or who may be accused, acquit of a charge or reproach" (Thayer, p.150).
One outside of Christ is in sin (Romans 3:23) and if those sins are not forgiven, one will be lost eternally in hell (Romans 6:23). My friend, if you are outside of Christ, you are guilty of sin, and you need to be justified by "faith in Christ".
How then is one justified? By "faith of ("in" NASB) Christ". Can one be justified without faith? The writer of Hebrews gives us the answer, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).
Does having "faith in Christ" mean that we don't have to do any works? NO! When Paul says in (Galatians 2:16), "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law...for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified", Paul is referring to the Old Law of Moses (which could not forgive sins, Hebrews 10:4), not works under the Law of Christ. Notice what Paul says to the Ephesians, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works (of the Old Law of Moses, LS), lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:8-10, emp LS). Those "in Christ" are workers, created (born again) to do good works. James says, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (James 2:24).
If we are to be saved from our sins, we must have faith in Jesus Christ. How does faith come? Paul gives us the answer, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). When we hear (understand) the Word of God, we must then act (work) upon that hearing and do (work) what we hear of God (cf. Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38). When we do (work) what God has commanded us to do, then we will be justified by faith in Christ Jesus (Matthew 7:21). Have you been justified by faith in Christ Jesus?