Luke 18:9-14 (NIV)
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
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 before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Many people, even Christians, think that to be ‘righteous’ (effectively ‘right before God’) involves doing the right thing. Keeping the commandments. Obeying the Law.
But this completely misses the point.
It’s because we are unable do good all of the time that Jesus paid the price for us. Stood in our place. Received the punishment we so justly deserve.
We are all sinners. Each and every one of us. (Romans 3:10)
Acknowledging this and asking for God’s forgiveness is our only path.
Trying to earn His merit is a futile endeavour. No matter what we do we will never be good enough. At least, not without Jesus.
It’s such a simple, pure concept of substitution that we find it hard to grasp.
We are reluctant to accept such generosity. Such grace. Such mercy.
Perhaps it’s about time you stopped struggling to pay an insurmountable debt and instead accepted the gift on offer: eternal life.
prayer : that friends & family would discover the joy of faith
action : share the hope I have in Christ with family & friends