Galatians 2:15-21 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 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. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
‘Jews by nature’ – Descendants of the Jewish nation; having Jewish parents.
‘Not sinners of the Gentiles’ – Not Gentile sinners brought up without the knowledge of God and the law.
‘Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ.’ Many modern religionists do not know this yet (Rom. 1:16-17; 3:24-31; 5:1-11; 8:1-4; 10:9-10; Acts 13:38-39; Gal. 3:11-28; 2Cor. 5:14-21; Eph. 2:8-9; 1Jn. 1:9).
‘But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin?’ If while we acknowledge that we must be justified by faith in Christ, we find ourselves to be sinners through such justification, and we are compelled to go back to the law for that justification, then Christ, instead of being a minister of righteousness and salvation, is the minister of sin and condemnation. God forbid.
‘For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.’ Paul states here that if he acts like a Jew, and enjoin the observance of the law upon Gentiles, which he had repeatedly asserted and proved to be abolished by the death of Christ (Eph. 2:14-15; Col. 2:14-17; 2Cor. 3:6-15; Heb. 7:11 – 10:18), then he build again the things he destroyed and thus make himself a transgressor, undoing his justification by faith in Christ.
‘For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.’ Through paying the penalty of the broken law, Paul states he died to the law and that it has no claim upon him. That is, when the law executed Christ in his place, he died in Christ to the law. When Christ arose, Paul arose with Him that he might live unto God (2:19-20).
‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.’ The death of Christ on the cross showed Paul that there was no salvation by the law. Paul states he was crucified with Him and he lives with Him. It is not his life, it is Christ’s life that Paul is partaking in. The life he now lives in the flesh is one of faith in Christ, who loved him and made it possible for him to live by faith.
‘Frustrate’ [Greek: atheteo] set aside; disregard. Paul did not render useless the grace of God. If righteousness, justification, or salvation come by law observance, then the death of Christ was useless. Since they do not come by the law at all, but by the death of Christ, then His death was a necessity and the law is useless as a means of salvation.