Galatians 2:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Galatians 2:21, NIV: I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!'

Galatians 2:21, ESV: I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Galatians 2:21, KJV: I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Galatians 2:21, NASB: I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.'

Galatians 2:21, NLT: I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Galatians 2:21, CSB: I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

What does Galatians 2:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has been arguing, strongly, that it is totally illegitimate to add requirements such as good deeds or rituals to the gospel of salvation. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, and any inclusion of works conflicts with that good news (Galatians 1:8–9; 2:16). In the prior verse, Paul dramatically explained why this does not offer us a license to sin: those who are saved by grace through faith have "died" to sin, and will seek to obey God, even if they sometimes slip.

Here, Paul delivers his final argument in this line of thinking about being justified or declared righteous by God. He has already shown that we can only be condemned by the law. If somehow he were wrong, though, and it was possible to be made righteous before God by the works of the law, why did Jesus die? What would be the point? We could all stay on the path of the law and be saved. But the law cannot save, so Paul will not nullify—he will not ignore, or make worthless—God's grace. Paul will instead die to the law. He will place all of his faith in Christ's righteousness and Christ's death on the cross. That sacrifice in his place, not Paul's own works, will be his only means of being counted as righteous before God.