We Need a Cure

A Short Easter Message by Pastor Daniel Kriss for the Alexandra Standard Newspaper (8/4/20)
At the time of writing this, there are 5635 positive cases of Coronavirus in Australia, and tragically, 34 people have died. The world as we know it has changed, and this Easter will be remembered for many years to come.
With so much uncertainty in the world, I believe it is best to remind you of a changeless truth that transcends our current situation, namely, the fact that Jesus came into the world to rescue us from a more serious virus than Covid-19, the universal disease of sin.
Unlike the Coronavirus, sin has a 100% strike rate and every person tests positive to this soul-threatening malady. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and are guilty of breaking God’s law. The good news, however, is that there is a cure. Presently, doctors and medical teams all over the world are working on vaccines and antidotes to combat Covid-19, and I am sure they will have success soon. When it comes to the universal problem of sin, the Bible tells us that the cure has already been provided in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
No doubt you are familiar with the “Easter Story,” but do you know the reason why there was a bloodied man crucified on a cross? The answer is to save you from your sin. Because God is holy and He cannot allow sin to enter into His presence, He sent His perfect Son, Jesus, to die on the cross as a substitute for all who would believe on Him. His death and subsequent resurrection opened the way for sinful man to come to God, be cleansed, and given eternal life. This gift of forgiveness must be received by faith, it cannot be worked for.
My prayer is that at this most unusual time in our history, you might come to know the real meaning of Easter!

Understanding Justification

READING TEXT: Galatians 1-2
PREACHING TEXT: Philippians 2:15-20


The Book of Galatians Overview

  • Author: Paul the Apostle (1:1)
  • Written approx. AD49

The churches of Galatia were made up of both Jew and Gentile converts.

Paul’s purpose in writing this letter to them was to confirm them in the faith, especially concerning justification by faith alone, apart from the works of the law of Moses.

Galatians was written because the churches in the region were facing a theological crisis. The all-important truth of justification by faith rather than human works was being denied by the Judaisers – legalistic Jews who insisted that Christians must keep the Mosaic Law.

In particular, the Judaisers insisted on circumcision as a requirement for Gentiles who wished to be saved. In other words, convert to Judaism first, and then you are eligible to become a Christian. When Paul learned that this heresy was being taught to the Galatian churches, he wrote this epistle to emphasise our liberty in Christ and to counter the perversion of the gospel that the Judaisers promoted.

Galatians is God’s admonition against legalism of every and any description. The Law is not discredited, despised, or disregarded. Its majesty, perfection, demands, fullness, and purpose are maintained. Yet these very qualities make it utterly impossible for man to come this route to God. Another way is opened — which entirely bypasses law — for man to be justified before God. The new route is by faith. Justification by faith is the theme, with the emphasis upon faith.

Practical Application

One of the main themes of the book of Galatians is found in 3:11: “The righteous shall live by faith.” We must stand firm in this truth. Any compromise with legalism or the mixture of human effort and the grace of God for salvation leads to heresy. If we could be saved through the keeping of the Law, then Jesus did not need to die (Galatians 2:21). Trying to save ourselves nullifies grace.

Who were the Judaisers?

A Judaiser taught that, in order for a Christian to truly be right with God, he must conform to the Mosaic Law. Circumcision, especially, was promoted as necessary for salvation. Gentiles had to become Jewish proselytes first, and then they could come to Christ. The doctrine of the Judaisers was a mixture of grace (through Christ) and works (through the keeping of the Law). This false doctrine was dealt with in Acts 15 and strongly condemned in the book of Galatians.

With that introduction, join me as I preach a message entitled: Understanding Justification.

The Gospel Abolishes Racial Prejudice

Galatians 2:7-16; Galatians 3:27-29; Romans 3:9-20; Colossians 3:11.

The problem surrounding the churches of Galatia was the false teaching that gentiles needed to become “Jewish” before they could experience the new birth in Christ.

This heresy placed a stumbling block before every potential Christian and brought bondage rather than freedom in Christ.

The New Testament is very clear that there is no difference between the Jew, Greek, gentile, Barbarian, Scythian, and any other people group when it comes to salvation.

There is no racial prejudice with God, nor is he a respecter of persons.

It was always God’s intention to diversify His church. Unfortunately, many have tried to establish segregated gatherings based on race, age, common interests etc. This completely inverts God’s order for the New Testament church. The unifying reality within the local church is not style, social status, wealth, musical prowess, or occupation, it is Christ.

Paul writes,for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal.3:26-28).

Justification Cannot be Achieved through Works of the Law

Galatians 2:16-21; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:20; Titus 3:4-5

Definition: Justification

This basic Greek word describes a judge declaring an accused person not guilty and therefore innocent before the law. Throughout Scripture, it refers to God’s declaring a sinner not guilty and fully righteous before Him by imputing to him the divine righteousness of Christ and imputing the person’s sin to his sinless Saviour for punishment.

What was the purpose of the law? It was the straight edge that showed us how crooked we were. It was never God’s intention that we would be made righteous by keeping the law because He knew we couldn’t.

Consider Romans 8:3-4: “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Paul wrote, “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Gal.3:24).

MacArthur: The Greek word for “guardian” denotes a slave whose duty it was to take care of a child until adulthood. The tutor escorted the children to and from school and watched over their behaviour at home. Tutors were often strict disciplinarians, causing those under their care to yearn for the day when they would be free from their tutor’s custody. The law was our tutor which, by showing us our sins, was escorting us to Christ.

The “doctrine” of the Judaisers demanded works of the law as a precursor to salvation in Christ.

Turn to Acts 15:1-11.


Today we have “churches”, denominations, schisms, cults, and splinter groups all teaching a legalistic gospel. Some demand baptism, confirmation, the sacraments, church membership, an ecstatic experience, and many other unbiblical prerequisites for salvation.

Paul wanted to protect the gospel of Jesus Christ from false doctrine which would bring great bondage, and so should we.

As we preach the gospel, we need to be very careful not to add anything to the free grace of Christ. The Pharisees did this and turned people into “twice as much a child of hell” (Matt.23:15).

Justification is by Faith Alone in Christ Alone

Galatians 2:16; Romans 5:1; Acts 13:39 (freed = justified).

The doctrine of justification found in the Scripture teaches us that the only means of being right with God is through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

A works-based, law-keeping attempt at salvation is rooted in pride. Justification by grace through faith in Christ alone is incredibly humbling. This is why so many balk at the simplicity of Christianity. As human beings we WANT to work for our rescue, but the gospel teaches us that we can do nothing but receive God’s gift of salvation.

The good news of salvation in Christ is only effective for those who STOP trying to earn it their own way, and trust in the finished work of Jesus’ death and resurrection for them. Religion says “do”, Christianity says, “done”.


Stop and ponder the wonder of justification: We were unworthy, hell-deserving, condemned, hopeless, helpless, degenerate, desperate, wicked, unforgiven, destitute, despairing, depraved, and dead.

By grace alone we were made alive; By grace alone we were quickened. By grace alone we were regenerated. By grace alone we were adopted. By grace alone we were washed. By grace alone we were redeemed. By grace alone we were liberated. By grace alone we are now seated in heavenly places, and we await the Saviour from heaven who brought about our rescue!

1 Corinthians 6:9-11-“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

The Law no Longer Condemns the Justified

Galatians 2:19; Romans 6:14; Romans 7:4

In Galatians 2:19, Paul makes rather a striking statement: “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.”

This concept is best understood like a person on death row who is executed for committing a capital crime. Once he has been executed, the law has no further claim on him. So it is with the believer who has died in Christ (who paid the penalty for his sins in full). Justice has been satisfied, and he is forever free from any further penalty.

Another helpful example is of a woman, once married and bound to her husband, ceases to be so bound when death interposes, and may be lawfully married to another husband. So by believing in Christ, we are considered dead with him to sin and the law, and now alive (and betrothed) to Him through the resurrection.

The Old Me is Dead

Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:1-11 (MUST READ!)

When first we come to Christ the old sin nature which exercised control over us is destroyed. This does not mean we do not sin, but it does mean we no longer HAVE to sin.

Christ’s death killed our sinful nature and His resurrection made us new creatures who are no longer bound by sin.

Although we still live in the flesh, which is very motivated to sin, we are no longer dominated by our sin nature. In Christ, we have been set free, and with His power can overcome sin.

This does not mean we will ever reach perfection in this life, but it does mean we can “mortify the deeds of the flesh” every day and live in victory.


Perhaps the strongest application is found in Romans 6:12-23

Why are we yielding our members (bodies) to sin?

Because we want to, not because we have to!

Christ Lives in Me

Galatians 2:20; Colossians 4:4

The remarkable reality is that Jesus Christ lives within every believer. Obviously, this is not meant in a physical way, but spiritually. The Spirit of Christ indwells every individual who has died to sin through Christ’s death, and has been raised to new life through His resurrection.

This fact is attested to in many places in the Bible:

Ephesians 3:17 – so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

Colossians 1:27 – To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

1 John 3:24 – Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.


  • I am not my own I am bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)
  • The life I live is empowered by Christ within (Galatians 2:20)
  • Everything about my “new existence” is about Christ (Philippians 1:21)
      • Explain business structure change – new entity.
  • It is my responsibility to live a life that honours Christ (Philippians 1:20)


Keeping Scripture in balance:

Galatians 2:16 (justified by faith) & James 2:18-24 (justified by works)!