1. Galatians 2:19 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What does Paul mean when he says that he died to the law through the law?

Galatians 2:19 (ESV)

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

This is another disputed phrase. Read together with Galatians 2:20, it may connect to the death of Christ and Paul’s crucifixion with Christ. Christ ended the era of the law through his death. He kept all aspects of God’s law perfectly in order to liberate believers (Galatians 4:4–5). As a result, all believers (including Paul) died to the law when they died with Christ.1 Believers are no longer subject to the terms of old covenant law.2 The law lost its power to condemn (Romans 7:4, Romans 7:6)3 since, with the death of Christ, the curse of the law was paid (Galatians 3:13).4

Alternatively, if we focus primarily on what Paul himself says in this verse, then he died to the law when he realized that he was unable to keep the demands of the law.5 The law itself showed Paul that he was not able to earn God’s favour through his obedience.6