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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 13

Verse 13. For not the hearers, etc. The same sentiment is implied in Jas 1:22; Mt 7:21,24; Lu 6:47.

the apostle here doubtless designed to meet an objection of the Jews; to wit, that they had the law, that they manifested great deference for it, that they heard it read with attention, and professed a willingness to yield themselves to it. To meet this, he states a very plain and obvious principle, that this was insufficient to justify them before God, unless they rendered actual obedience.

Are just. Are justified before God, or are personally holy. Or, in other words, simply hearing the law is not meeting all its requirements, and making men holy. If they expected to be saved by the law, it required something more than merely to hear it. It demanded perfect obedience.

But the doers of the law. They who comply entirely with its demands; or who yield to it perfect and perpetual obedience. This was the plain and obvious demand, not only of common sense, but of the Jewish law itself, De 4:1; Le 18:5. Comp. Ro 10:9.

Shall be justified. This expression is evidently synonymous with that in Le 18:5 where it is said that "he shall live in them." The meaning is, that it is a maxim or principle of the law of God, that if a creature will keep it, and obey it entirely, he shall not be condemned, but shall be approved, and live for ever. This does not affirm that any one ever has thus lived in this world, but it is an affirmation of a great general principle of law, that if a creature is justified BY the law, the obedience must be entire and perpetual. If such were the case, as there would be no ground of condemnation, man would be saved by the law. If the Jews, therefore, expected to be saved by their law, it must be, not by hearing the law, nor by being called a Jew, but by perfect and unqualified obedience to all its requirements. This passage is designed, doubtless, to meet a very common and pernicious sentiment of the Jewish teachers, that all who became hearers and listeners to the law would be saved. The inference from the passage is, that no man can be saved by his external privileges, or by an outward respectful deference to the truths and ordinances of religion.

{v} "For not the hearers" Jas 1:22,25

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