Martin Luther realized from his readings of Galatians that the “just shall live by faith” and not by works.
He found issue with the Roman Catholic Church of his day and its preoccupation with religious rites, including the selling of indulgences. All this flew in the face of the Gospel, which taught that the only way man gets to Heaven is by grace and through faith in Jesus. He nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517 and ushered in the Protestant Reformation.
In Galatians 2, Paul had to confront some folks, too. He set the record straight in Galatians 2:16 when he said, “know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” Paul confronted Peter and others and challenged them to make the message clear: we are saved “by grace and through faith” (Ephesians 2:8-9) and there is no way on earth man can earn his way to Heaven.
“Justification” is a big theological term that simply means “the action of declaring or making righteous in the sight of God.” When we accept God’s gracious gift of Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, and then place our faith (belief/trust) in Him as our Savior, we are justified. We are saved and forgiven and when God judges us in the end He doesn’t see our sin and disobedience; He sees the blood of Christ applied to our lives.
One prayer we need to pray is for more people to come to know the truth that salvation is free and available to all. That peace with God is nothing we can ever earn or deserve (Galatians 2:16), and that finding peace with God is a gift (grace) appropriated by faith (belief/trust) (Galatians 2:20-21; Ephesians 2:8-9). And once we experience peace with God, we must find a way to share this good news with others.