For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who lives, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law then Christ died for nothing. (Galatians 2:19-21 NRSV)
No one is justified through fulfilling the law, because none of us are capable of fulfilling the law. Jesus fulfilled the law on all counts so did not deserve to die, but he did to break the hold of sin on everyone else.
Each of us was crucified with Christ, not because by doing so makes his death more effective, but because all our sinful nature must die so we can truly live our lives with Jesus, or more correctly so he can now live his life in and through each one of us.
Our whole lives should be lived ‘by faith’ in Jesus who died as a substitutionary sacrifice in our place. If we think, live or act as if anything we do can justify us then we are living hypocritical lives and saying that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was worth nothing and has no power. But this is not true, Christ’s death is totally efficacious in every way and is powerful as here the hold of sin on each of us was broken if we only accept the finished work of the cross in our lives.
We are justified by faith in Christ alone!
Also if we live as if we are justified by our own efforts then we make the gospel of no effect and will not be able to proclaim it with power and authority, if we proclaim it at all!
Heavenly Father, help me always to remember that we are only saved by faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross, and by that alone. Help me never to fall into legalism, the hypocrisy that goes with it and so cheapen your work on the cross. In your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.