Galatians 2:17-18. “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.”
Paul’s legal training shows up in these two verses. They are classic “If. . . .then” statements, showing the fallacy of combining grace with the observation of the law to attain salvation.
“if,” says Paul, “while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners”–in other words, if we who have trusted in Jesus alone are still sinners seeking a way of salvation–“Then Christ is the minister of sin.” Is that all Christ was for? Was He only to show me how bad my sin is, how lost I am, and then leave me to save myself by my own efforts in keeping the Law?
God forbid! Christ came to be a minister of righteousness to all who believe. How futile would His death have been if it were only to show me how bad my sin is and not provide me with a way of salvation beyond my own efforts!
“If I build again the things which I have destroyed”—If I, Paul, insist upon the Gentiles’ observance of the Law, which I have proved to be abolished by the death of Christ (Eph. 2:14-15; Col. 2:14-17 and many other references) then I am rebuilding what I have taken down, making myself also a sinner by undoing my own justificiation by faith in Christ.
I had to read these verses over several times, and study a couple of my references, to be sure I have a clear understanding of what Paul was saying. When it fell into place for me, I realized how beautifully simple it is.
Thank God for His grace to us!