17 But if, while we seek to be justified in Christ, we ourselves are found to be sinners, does that make Christ a minister of sin? Certainly not! -Galatians 2:17 BSB
Paul argues that people are made righteous in God’s eyes apart from the Law of Moses. Righteousness cannot come from the Law because the Law acts as a mirror, only showing the individual’s sinful condition. However, by placing our faith in Jesus and accepting what He did for us on the cross, He gives us His righteousness, while the Law, made of stone, cannot do that.
Paul asked a rhetorical question: if a person places their faith in Jesus Christ with the understanding that we are sinners and must abandon the Law to receive the righteousness that comes from faith in Christ, does that suggest Christ is leading us into sin since we are no longer under the Law? His answer is a resounding no. A person’s true conversion does not come through an outward adherence but from within, the heart, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The Judaizers (Christians who bond themselves to the Law, see Acts 15:1), at the time of Paul—who can be found even today—were teaching the churches that salvation is obtained by having faith in Jesus Christ and keeping the Law. They were probably advocating that those who have abandoned the Law for faith in Jesus alone are still living in sin, as they no longer adhere to the Law, specifically, circumcision. However, Paul makes it clear in Galatians 5:2-4 that those who want to revert to the Law are forfeiting their faith in Christ.