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28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

 

28 Therefore we conclude [calculate, compute, maintain] that a man [any person] is justified by faith

The word “conclude” means to calculate, to reckon. This is a reasoned calculation. “Conclude” is a word of conviction. Paul’s conclusion is that the only way people can be just before God is “by faith.” Salvation is by faith alone and by Christ alone.

Ga 2: 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

apart from the deeds [works] of the law.

“Apart” signifies the radical distinction or separation between coming to God by works of the law versus trusting Him by faith for salvation. The two approaches are mutually exclusive. The purpose of the law was to make one conscious of sin (3:20).

The “deeds of the law” here refers to any works-of-the-law approach to salvation, any category of gaining God’s favor or approbation by works. In other words, it does not refer to any particular version of works.

Ga 2: 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

PRINCIPLE:

The power of the gospel is in Christ’s work alone.

APPLICATION:

Man is incurably addicted to the principle of doing something for his salvation. It is the self-help mentality. This demonstrates his unawareness of his true distance from God. There is no cause of salvation in man. Man, therefore, cannot brag about his contribution to salvation. The only people who are truly justified are justified under the faith principle, not the law system. Men turn religious, go on the wagon, give up sinful practices, and turn respectable, but none of it is acceptable to God for salvation.

As a note of qualification, this passage does not refer to the works that result from faith. James argues that true faith produces works. The argument here only has to do with initial salvation.

No one trusts unless he trusts in something or someone. Trust always has something on which to rest. The entire value of faith is the object on which it relies. A great faith in an insolvent bank is a worthless faith. Biblical faith rests in a worthy object—God’s promises, God’s provision in the death of Christ for our sins. Dependence on works is not a worthy object, for it will fail to deliver eternal life. Rest on works is rejection of grace.

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