But it is Those Who Obey the Law Who will be Declared Righteous.

12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. ( Romans 2, 12-14)

“But it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”

This might be a very shocking statement for all those who think – “believers in Christ are not bound to keep God’s Holy Laws.” Those antinomians will find it really hard to accept the above words of Apostle Paul whose Epistles they mainly use to justify their hatred for God’s Holy Laws.

Well, here you might wonder if salvation is by Faith alone and Grace alone, then, what is the need for keeping the Laws of God. But my question to those who think in this line is:

Why you need Salvation by Grace through Faith in the first place? What happened to you? How did you become a sinner or how did you become unrighteous in God’s Sight? Why you were condemned to eternal damnation?

How did we become unrighteous?  

The Word of God says – No one is righteous, not even one, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

10As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;11there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.( Romans 3, 10)

23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3, 23).

Yes, as verse 23 says; all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But, here, “all have sinned” means what?

“All have sinned” means – all have broken the Commandments of God and the Word of God says – Sin is the transgression of the Law or the Commandments.

4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3, 4)

Yes, sin is the transgression of the Law. Well, now it is clear that we have become unrighteous by disobeying God’s Holy Laws.

Well, How do we become righteous?

Yes, how did we, who were dead in our sins and trespasses, become righteous?

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh a and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. (Ephesians 2, 1-3)

As the above verses say, we were dead in our transgressions and sins like anybody else in this world. Our desire was always to gratify the cravings of our flesh and we lived in obedience to the commands of the ruler of the kingdom of the air whose spirit is now at work in those who are disobedient. Like the rest of the world, we too were destined for eternal damnation. 

However, God did not leave us where we fell, instead, He offered us an opportunity to be reconciled to Him through His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ.

4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2, 4-5)

Through Christ God offered us eternal salvation and whoever believes in Him has moved away from eternal death to eternal life. And we received this eternal salvation by God’s grace and it is a gift from God; we cannot earn it or gain it through our works; because, our works cannot wash away our sins and make us righteous before God.

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2, 8-9)

Thus, we were declared as righteous and holy when we repented of our sins and received Christ as our Lord and Saviour. The blood of Christ has washed away all our sins that we committed until then. Now, we are holy and righteous in God’s sight.

But after being saved by Grace, what is next for a Christian?

But after being saved by Grace through Faith, what is next for a Christian? What kind of life Christ has called him to live? is it a life of obedience or disobedience? Of course, all of you will agree that it should be a life of obedience; obedience to God’s Commandments.

By professing our faith in Christ; we have entered into a Covenant with God Almighty. We have promised God that, from now on, we will live in obedience to His Commandments.

But this aspect of obedience is misunderstood by majority of the new believers; many thinks; once they repent of their sins and receive salvation in the name of Christ; then, there is nothing else to do further; their job is done and now they can live as they like – just be in the church on Sundays – that’s all!

Saints, repenting of your sins means – not just saying sorry for what you have done until then, but it is much more than that.  it also requires that you turn away from every form of disobedience that you practised until you were saved.

A repented heart that is filled with the grace of God will naturally steer itself away from every path of disobedience and on a daily basis it will move closer and close to God by living in obedience to His Commandments.

That means; once you are in Christ; you are a new creation; your old sinful nature that kept you in bondage to sin and rebellion has been removed from your heart and now the Holy Spirit dwells in you and helps you to walk in obedience.

Consequently, you won’t be able to live in wilful disobedience to God’s Commandments; in other words, sin will not rule over you.  

 6Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.(1 John 3, 6)

Yes, as the above verse says – whoever abides in Christ does not sin. Whoever has the Spirit of the LORD in him does not continue to live in sin.  

Again, in 1 John 2 verse 3 Apostle John says: knowing Christ means – “living in obedience to His Commandments.” He who claims to know Christ but still does not keep His Commandments is a liar; the TRUTH is not in Him; in other words; Christ, who is the embodiment of truth, is not in him.

3Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2, 3-4)

Also, in 1 John 3, verse 7, Apostle John warns believers not to be deceived by anyone who  leads you into disobedience or unrighteousness. Here, he says: He who practices righteousness is righteous; or he who obey God’s Commandments is righteous.

7Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.(1 John 3, 7)

Saints; let me ask you frankly: Can you practice righteousness without obeying God’s Commandments? No, you cannot; because righteousness is the fruit of obedience and without obeying God you will not appear righteous before God. That is why Apostle John says:

Those who practice righteousness or obedience is righteous and this leads us back to the conclusion that Apostle Paul made in Romans 2, 13.

“But it is Those Who Obey the Law Who will be Declared Righteous.”

No; We are not under the Law but under the Grace. Really?

“No; we are not under the Law, but under the Grace.” – this is what most of the Evangelical Christians will shout once they hear someone asking them to obey God’s Holy Laws. But is it true? Did God exempt believers in Christ from keeping His Holy Laws? I have heard many Evangelical preachers arguing that the Laws were given only for the Israelites and Gentiles are not obligated to Keep God’s Laws.

Yes, I do agree with your argument that God’s Laws are only for God’s People and under the Old Covenant only the Israelites were bound by those Laws since only they were considered as God’s People.

But under the New Covenant Non-Israelites, those who profess their faith in Christ, are also required to obey God’s Holy Laws since they too have been added unto God’s people through their faith in the Son of God. 

Once a Gentile profess his faith in Christ and enter into a Covenant with God Almighty; he becomes part of God’s people; he is not a Gentile anymore; that is what the Word of God says:

11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2, 11-13)

Saints, read verse 11 carefully; here Apostle Paul is saying to Ephesians that they were formerly Gentiles by birth and were excluded from the citizenship of Israel and its Covenants.

Yes, they were formerly Gentiles; not any more. Now through their faith in Christ, they have become part of God’s people and are citizens of Israel and heirs to the Covenants of the promise. If you are part of God’s people through your faith in Christ, then, you are also bound to obey God’s Holy Laws.

There is no such thing as a “Gentile Believer.”

Yes, there is no such thing as a Gentile believer. One cannot be a “Gentile” and a “believer in Christ” at the same time. You might wonder why I am making such an unusual statement. Here is my answer. First, let us look at the definition of the word “Gentile”

A ‘Gentile’ is someone who is not an Israelite. In Hebrew the word used for Gentiles is – “Goyim” and it means – a people or a nation that does not have a covenant with the God of Israel.

Of course, the Israelites are not Goyim since they do have a Covenant with God Almighty. Also, in the Old Covenant only the Israelites were included and rest of the world was excluded (But still there were some provisions for the Gentiles to be included, which I don’t want to discuss here)

But under the New Covenant, there is, indeed, a provision for non-Israelites to become part of God’s people through their faith in Christ. Once you profess your faith in Christ; by default, you come under the New Covenant and you are not a Gentile anymore since you are not someone without a Covenant.

Please Remember – each time when you declare to someone that you are a Gentile – you are declaring that “you are someone without a Covenant with the God of Israel.

Actually, many of the mainstream American Evangelical Christian preachers often remind their sheep that they are Gentiles and hence there is no need for them to keep God’s Holy Laws.

In fact, this is a false teaching and it does only one thing – that is to encourage people to live in disobedience. The reason why these preachers love to label themselves as Gentiles is – because, they want to liberate themselves from the obligation of keeping God’s Holy Laws. They consider God’s Holy Laws as a burden; not a delight.

Of course, if you think you are Gentile, absolutely there is no need for you to obey God’s Laws as you are someone without a Covenant with the God of Israel.

Unfortunately, this mentality has done a great deal of harm to American Evangelical Christianity. Actually, this mindset has created a new generation of Evangelical Christians who neither fear God nor care about obeying Him.

Well, I think by now you might have clearly understood why Apostle Paul is not considering Ephesians as Gentiles after they became believers in Christ. If Ephesians are not “Gentiles” anymore after they became believers in Christ, then, how can we be “Gentiles” after we have become believers in Christ?

All who sin under the law will be judged by the law.

12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Romans 2, 12-16)

As you see, in the above verses Apostle Paul gives us a short description of the final judgment of both the living and the dead. According to the above verses – all who sin apart from the Law will also perish apart from the Law and all who sin under the Law will be judged by the Law. The former group seems to be the unbelievers and the latter group seems to be believers.

But my focus here is not unbelievers but believers; how they are going to be judged? Yes, they will be judged according to the Law or more specifically the Ten Commandments. The following verse makes it crystal clear.

“All who sin under the Law will be judged by the Law.”

Normally what Christians think is – They are Gentiles and hence they won’t be judged according to the Law because the Laws were given to the Israelites only and not to the Gentiles.

But as I mentioned earlier – there is no such thing as a Gentile Believer. Once you accept Christ as your Lord and Saviour you become part of the New Covenant and you are bound to keep the Ten Commandments. If you break one of them you are guilty of breaking them all.

10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” b also said, “You shall not murder.” c If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. (James 2, 10-11)

The “whole Law” in verse 10 indicates the Ten Commandments only and it does not include all the Laws mentioned in the Old Testament; evidence for this can be found in verse 11. Here, Apostle James is talking about the Commandments that prohibit adultery and murder which of course are part of the Ten Commandments.

Saints, God Almighty has already forgiven all the sins that you had committed until the time of your salvation and you began your walk with Christ with a clean slate.  

But after you became a believer in Christ; after you became part of the New Covenant; then, the story is different. Now, you are bound to keep the Commandments of God which He has revealed to you through His Word. There is no excuse whatsoever for you to say that you are not under the Law or you do not know the Commandments of God. 

If you think you are part of the New Covenant, they, you are also bound to obey The Holy Laws of God. Because, Ten Commandments are the core of both the Old and the New Covenants but under the Old Covenant, the Commandments were written on Stone Tablets and under the New Covenant they are written in the hearts of the believers.

Therefore, Christians too will be judged according to the Law or the Ten Commandments on the day of Judgment. This is what I understand from the following verses of Apostle Paul.

12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Romans 2, 12-16)

And verse 13 says – it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s Sight, but it is those who obey the Law who will be declared righteous.

Saints; please read verse 13 carefully – it says: Only those who obey the Law will be declared righteous – please take note of the expression – “will be declared righteous” which means, it is an event that will take place in the future; an event in which one will be declared righteous or unrighteous on the basis of his obedience to God’s Holy Laws.

Again, in Romans 2, 6 Apostle Paul says – God will repay each person according to what they have done and in verse 7 he says – Those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality and to those people God will give “Eternal Life.”

 Saints, God will give eternal life to who? For those who by persistence keep doing good. Doing good means what? Doing good means living in obedience to God’s Commandments. You cannot do anything good without obeying God.  

If you love God, then, you will love your neighbour as yourself. If you love your neighbour as yourself – then, definitely, you will not do anything bad to them, but, instead, you will persist in doing good to them.

6God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” a 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2, 6-7)

But for those who are self-seeking or selfish – who reject the truth and follow evil there will be wrath and anger.

8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Romans 2, 8)

Rejecting the truth means what? It is rejecting Christ. Because Christ said: “I am the way, the truth and the life” and when you reject the Commandments of Christ; you are rejecting Christ.

And again, in verse 9 Apostle Paul says – there will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil. How do you do evil? – you do evil by breaking the Commandments.

 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; (Romans 2, 9)

But glory, honour and peace for everyone who does good.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2, 10-11).

Saints, accepting Christ as our Lord and Saviour is not something that we should only do with our mouth. We need to prove the Lordship of Christ over our lives through our obedience to His Commandments. As the following verse says: Christ called and separated us for good works; to do good to others.  

10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2, 10)

Of course, you might often hear preachers and Pastors saying – Oh! “Your good deeds will not take you to heaven.” So, don’t bother about doing anything good to others.

 Yes, your good deeds will not take you to heaven but your evil deeds can throw you out of heaven if you persist in doing evil. If you persist in breaking the Commandments of God; definitely you will be thrown outside where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

God, through the precious blood of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ has made you holy and He has filled you with His Grace to live in obedience. Yes, it is true that we are living in a fallen world and occasionally we might be forced to do things that are displeasing to God. But we could deal with such occasional sins by repenting and turning away from them.  

As New Covenant believers, we have the privilege of going before the throne of Grace to receive forgiveness each time when we commit a sin; but it does not mean that we have the privilege to wilfully keep on sinning or breaking God’s Holy Laws. Remember – it is not who hear the Law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the Law who will be declared righteous.

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Romans 2, 12-16).

Saints, faith in Christ is not just an abstract feeling that you maintain in your heart but it should be something that you live out on a daily basis. Professing faith in Christ means living according to what His Word says. Your faith in Christ should be proven through your deeds, otherwise it is just an empty faith; a faith that bears no fruits.

14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2, 14-17)

If Jesus is your Lord, then, you should live in obedience to His Commandments. Only those who obey Him will be declared righteous at the end. That is why Apostle James says: A person is considered righteous by what he does not by faith alone.

24You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. (James 2, 24)

Saints, therefore, live your lives on earth as those who are going to be judged by the Law because as the Word of God says at the end you will be judged by the Law.

12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, (James 2, 12)

Well, by now you might be feeling a bit confused and asking yourself the following question.

 If only those who obey the Law will be declared righteous, then who on earth really deserve to be labelled as righteous?

Saints; As I mentioned earlier; we all began our journey with Christ with a clean slate. We became righteous and holy in God’s sight when we repented of our sins and received forgiveness in the name of Christ.

Christ robed us with the robe of righteousness when we accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour. But we need to keep this robe of righteousness without any blemishes; that is our responsibility, but How do we do that? We do that by living in obedience to His Commandments.

But each time when we break the Commandments of God, we are dirtying this robe of righteousness that we are wearing. So, what is the solution? We should immediately repent of those sins and turn away from them. The moment we repent of our sins, we are washed and cleansed by the blood of Christ. This is how we keep ourselves holy and pure in the sight of God.

19Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, (Hebrews 10, 19-24)

But, one important thing that we need to bear in mind is – We should not mis-use the privilege that the God Almighty has given us to receive forgiveness in the name of Christ.

Just because God is willing to forgive us in the name of Christ; it does not mean that we have the liberty to live in wilful disobedience. If we live in wilful disobedience, then, that is a different story altogether and Apostle Paul talks about the consequences of wilful disobedience in the following verses.

26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” d and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” e 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10, 26-31)

When we examine the Christian Realm, we could find two groups of born-again believers; one group is selfish and inward-looking. They love the world and live in wilful disobedience to God’s Commandments. They think, since Salvation is by Grace alone and Faith alone, there is no need for good works or obedience. This group, in fact, have taken the broad road.

On the contrary, the other group lives in complete separation from the world and its passions. They do not love the world or anything in this world. They live as aliens and strangers in this world but they treat everyone with love and compassion and consider others as better than themselves. They have chosen the narrow road.

Above everything; they literally walk in obedience to God’s Commandments; they work out their salvation with fear and trembling.

12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2, 12-13)

But What about you? You belong to which group?

Stay Blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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