There are two statements of Paul about Justification (forgiveness of sins) which seem to contradict each other.
VERSE 1. (Romans 3:20)
"Therefore by the deeds of the LAW there shall no flesh be JUSTIFIED in His sight."
VERSE 2. (Romans 2:13)
"For not the hearers of the LAW are just before God, but the doers of the LAW shall be JUSTIFIED."
The question is "How can both of these verses be true?" The answer is this:
verse #1 refers to HOW WE ARE JUSTIFIED, while verse #2 refers to WHO IS JUSTIFIED.
VERSE 1. HOW JUSTIFIED:
No one can be JUSTIFIED (forgiven) by keeping the law for even though we keep every commandment from this day forward, someone must pay for the sins we have already committed. We are justified by faith in Christ.
VERSE 2. WHO JUSTIFIED:
On the other hand, only the "DOERS OF THE LAW will be justified before God." Therefore it must follow that only the doers of the law have a genuine faith in Christ.
That is why John wrote:
Here is a call for the endurance of the Saints, Those who KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, and the FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST." Rev 14:12
One cannot be good enough to merit justification, however once Justified one must be good enough to not merit the destruction reserved for rebellious Christians.
Harold and Donna Kupp
The Seven Deadly Deceptions Of Counterfeit Christianity