Luke 18:13 But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified [g1344] before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified [g1344] by faith without the deeds of the law.

g1344 = δικαιόω

Is the tax collector saved according to Paul?

4 Answers 4


Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. [Romans 8:30 KJV]

The sinner who is justified is regarded by God as possessing his (God's) own righteousness. This is called 'justification by faith', for it is within the faith of the believer that God sees his own righteousness.

Thus the man who admits his own unrighteousness and casts himself, utterly, on the mercy of God as the only means of ever obtaining righteousness, is regarded by God as possessing his (God's) own righteousness, Matthew 6:33.

Thus is he justified in the sight of God.

Thus the publican went down to his house, justified, Luke 18:14.

He was indeed, saved at that point and up to that point. But there is more to come. There is more to face, there is more to know, there are more battles to be overcome.

But the man is not alone. For God is with him. Evidently, or he would not have come even this far.

He will be saved further. He will be saved to the uttermost, Hebrews 7:25.

For God is in this thing.

And whom God justifies, him will God also glorify, Romans 8:30.

It is certain. It is inevitable. It is incontrovertible.

For God in this thing.

God foreknew him, Romans 8:29, 1 Peter 1:2. God chose him in Christ before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4. God determined this matter, before the man was born. And God shall bring all to pass, according to his own counsels in unanimous determination, Ephesians 1:11, by promise and by oath, Genesis 22:17, and by divine love.

For the publican shall be able to say, with Paul, that the Son of God has loved him and has given himself for him, Galatians 2:20.

And that is salvation indeed.


Is the tax collector in Luke 18:14 saved according to Rom 3:28?

Let's look at the context. In verse 9, Jesus mentions that this is a parable or illustration. So technically, this individual doesn't exist and therefore salvation cannot do its work.

What if this were a real person?
Then the answer changes to maybe. Why do I say "maybe"? Because we don't know how the individual lived the rest of his life. There are those that in dire circumstances will turn to God and ask for help. But once the situation changes for the better, the individual goes back to their old ways. According to Heb. 10:26, "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins".

Now if the individual continues on a righteous course, then the opportunity is there for salvation. Of course, God is the one that makes that determination and we are not privy to all of God's thoughts.


This comparison between this tax collector and Paul’s statement needs to be carefully analysed. And doing this makes an answer to your Q ‘Is the tax collector saved according to Paul?’ rather difficult.

Jesus is talking to Jews pre cross. Paul is expounding on believers post cross. And this difference is significant. Yes the tax collector was (arguably) saved, but his righteousness did (was) not accounted to him in the same manner as the believers Paul was addressing.

Paul’s Gospel has righteousness through new birth, being recreated ‘righteous’. Old Testament believers such as the tax collector weren’t. Abraham’s Righteousness came by faith, believing. Post Sinai, Jews looked to the Law as their source of Righteousness. But, any righteousness could only have been made available via the cross, nevertheless, the point is how that righteousness was ‘obtained’.

The point is, all (both OT and NT believers.) are ‘saved’. And the ‘way’ to be saved is to be ‘seen’ as righteous. Righteousness is the ‘key’. But, the ‘means’ of (the way to receive this righteousness.) is not necessarily the same. So, in this regard, yes, the tax collector would have been saved, but not in the way Paul is describing in Romans 3. So yes Paul would have said this tax man was saved, but what Paul is saying in Romans 3:28 can’t be directly ‘linked’ to the Tax collector. Because there Paul is outlining how righteousness comes ‘post cross’.


The answer is clearly "no." The tax collector was not saved (justified) according to Romans 3:28 because in that that teaching he can only be justified by faith in Jesus' atoning death and sacrifice, not by repentance alone.

It may be argued that he was indeed saved but only for the time being. Soon he would sin again. This differs from Paul's general teaching on salvation, in which the sinner must be saved not only from personal sin by also from what would later by called Original Sin.

I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. (Rom. 7:22-25)

For Paul, salvation was not just a momentary state in which the tax collector would go home justified and fall from grace the next day. For Paul, person has to be reborn and saved from "this body of death," not only from sin resulting from daily misdeeds. "If anyone is in Christ," says Paul "he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) We have to conclude that if we take Romans 3:28 in the context of Paul's general teaching, the tax collector was not saved. We are left with another question: did Jesus think of justification differently from Paul?

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