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Romans 2:13 – Not the listeners but the doers

23-09-2020 - Posted by Andre Piet

… and whoever sinned in law, through law will be judged. For not the listeners to law are just with God, but the doers of law shall be justified.

The scope of what Paul points out in this passage is that with God there is no respect of persons and thus a Jew is not justified on the ground that he is a Jew. So the mere fact that a person is born a Jew and has always heard the sounds of the law in the synagogue does not, therefore, make him righteous. Because only “hearing” says nothing. One would also “do” that law.

Is this contrary to what Paul later argues, namely that “by works of law no flesh at all shall be justified in His sight” (3:20)? No definitely not! For to Paul, a doer of the law is not one who works the instructions of the law, but one who believes the message of the law. For whom the “thou shalt” is not an assignment but a promise! The law is not done with hands and feet, but with “heart and mouth”, namely, Paul writes in 10: 8 “the declaration of faith which we (= Moses and Paul) are heralding”.