Justified Sinners – Gospel in Life

Justified Sinners

Tim Keller |  November 23, 1997

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  • Justification
  • Understanding the Gospel
Galatians 2:17-21
RS 288-09


This passage tells the story of how Peter and Paul had a confrontation over the nature of the gospel, the essence of the Christian faith, over what a Christian really is. What is a Christian? We’re going to look at a definition in this teaching, a definition that is vast in its implications. Almost any other definition than this one is unbalanced, misleading, and distorted.

Becoming good is a result of being a Christian; it’s not the essence of becoming a Christian. When you become a Christian you are justified. It doesn’t mean you suddenly stop being bad. It means you’re no longer viewed in the same way. It means your sins can no longer bring you into condemnation. It means you’re righteous in God’s sight.

Galatians 2:17–21

The story of Peter and Paul in Galatians reminds us that being a Christian is about believing in Jesus, not about avoiding sin or following every rule perfectly. It talks about justification, which means seeing ourselves as God sees us – good and loved – because of our faith, not because of what we do. The real meaning of the gospel asks us to avoid being too strict with rules (legalism) or too loose (antinomianism). To truly be Christian, we need to understand that we’re not perfect, but God loves us anyway. This understanding changes how we see hard times and encourages us to live gratefully, helping others.



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