No Justification By The Law
Paul, Peter and other disciples who trusted in Jesus Christ were Jews by nature; that is, they were Jews by blood linage. They were born Jews and had advantage as such from God because of God's special favor on the Jewish nation as his chosen and loved nation.
But they, along with all of the "sinners of the Gentiles," or the "wicked of the nations," were the same in the sense that they both must be justified, not by works, but by faith in Jesus Christ, For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him (Romans 10:12).
These Jews (Paul, Peter, and others) knew that they were not justified by the law. Saul had spent his entire life serving the law, and it had in it no justification for Saul. First, God had to reveal his son in him (Gal. 1:16). Then he understood that all those years of serving the law had done him no good. He was without God in the world (Eph. 2:12). He needed justification, and he realized on the road to Damascus that only faith in Jesus Christ could justify him before God.
Now, a person can be justified by works before men but not before God. Romans 4:2 tells us: For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. Then James tells us that Abraham was justified by works: James 2:21-22 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? Abraham was justified by his works before men but not before God.
Those who teach that a person can be justified by works before God are living in the world, but those who trust completely in Christ as the object of their faith are genuinely justified before God and are living above the world, above the curse of the law, above the challenges of personal endeavor, above all carnal efforts and petty works of man's hands. This is living like a king (Rev. 1:6), out of this world with Christ.
By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified, that is, before God. Baptism, good deeds, church membership, benevolences, these are all works of the law; for, if they are not done as Jews, who are under the oracles of God (Rom. 3:2), they are done as Gentiles, who, if they do what is written in the law, they are a law unto themselves (Rom. 2:4).
The law itself has brought us to God (Gal. 3:24), but it cannot justify us, but after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Ga 3:25)-- "Free from the law, oh happy condition, Jesus has died, and there is remission." Because of Jesus' keeping of the law, he could die for our sins in perfection satisfaction to the Father's command. Now those who come to Christ by faith can be justified forever. Amen!