Are Christians Really Saved By Faith – Not By Works?

Yesterday I was asked by a friend what was unique about Christianity.  One of the answers I gave him was that in Christianity, you are saved by grace, not by works.  All other religions that have a god or gods are based on your performance.

I sent him a link to Ephesians 2 and said to read verses 1-10.  He came back and asked, “What about Romans 2:13 – it says that it is the doers of the law who are found righteous.  That says that behavior means righteousness.”

From my limited understanding, it appears that Paul is addressing Jews here, and speaking to their traditional thoughts on the law, and it is not as though he is setting up the path to salvation right now.  Paul wrote both Romans and Ephesians, so I doubt that he is contradicting himself here.  However, I didn’t have the time to study it further or the knowledge to really clarify it.  So at this point, I’m not sure how to make sense of Romans 2:13 and show clearly how it Paul is not saying that to be saved requires following the law to be justified.

If you would be willing to help shed some light here so I can continue the conversation with my friend, I would be grateful!  And, I need more than “Paul doesn’t contradict himself – we are saved by grace through faith”.  I’m talking to a guy who does not believe in Christianity or that the Bible is divinely inspired.

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