1. Galatians 2:16 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Of whom is Paul speaking when he says, “we know that a man is not justified…”?

Galatians 2:16 (ESV)

16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Paul is speaking to Peter and the other believers that came from a Jewish background. When they came to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ and put their trust in him for their justification, they thereby affirmed that man is not made righteous in the sight of God through obedience to works of the law. They demonstrated this conviction by forsaking the old covenant purity laws, confident that Christ has cleansed all those who come to him (Hebrews 10:19–25; Ephesians 5:26–27). Now, by acting as if those laws are needed to be part of God’s people, they act in a manner that is at odds with their own basic attitude.1