Does Paul teach that we are justified by works in Romans 2:13?

“For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified” (Romans 2:13). In this verse, Paul is contrasting the position in the judgment of those who know the will of God, and yet don’t obey it, with those who not only know the will of God but give it their full obedience.
Such obedience, Paul affirms, comes only through faith: “Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name” ” For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith”; “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 1:5, 17; 3:20). Thus, people don’t obey the law to be saved but because they are saved.
But how does faith work? Faith allows the believers to receive God’s power to overcome sin “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). Such a faith appropriates the Savior’s victory and duplicates it in the life of the Christian. It is not a mere dry knowledge but it leads to compliance. As our will chooses to resist sin, the  power of God enables us to accomplish what we by faith have willed. If we only wait for the Lord to lift us up from sin, nothing would happen. Our faith must lay hold on God’s Word and act upon it before that strength cab be a reality in our lives.

The faulty view that knowledge alone brings righteousness and salvation was prevalent among the Jews at Paul’s time and is sadly adopted by some believers today. But the Bible teaches that God’s Word must not only be known but followed. The apostle James preached, “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).

Jesus Himself taught, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt. 7:21, 24 also Luke 6:47–49).
Therefore, Romans 2:13, simply emphasizes that people are judged, not by what they claim to know but by what they have actually done by God’s grace through faith. For God “will render to each one according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6).
In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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