God, have mercy on me, a sinner

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

and when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin

John 16:8-11 (ESV)

8 “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

The “He” refers to the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is discussing with His disciples why He needs to leave them. But He reassures them that it is to their “advantage” as He will “send” the Holy Spirit in His place (John 16:7).

Why? Because the role of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world.

Of what? Our sin for one.

For “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Except Jesus Christ.

For God “made Him to be sin who knew no sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Wow. What a gift this is. To be made righteous before God through the deeds of Christ.

His birth. His life. His death & resurrection. And His ultimate ascension into heaven.

This is the gospel in a nutshell. Why is it so hard to understand? Why is it so hard to accept?

Let the Holy Spirit guide you if you don’t believe. For He can open the eyes of the blind (Matthew 11:5).


prayer : thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit

action : help me to restore sight to the spiritually blind

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice

“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3 (ESV)

Righteousness. To be right with God. To be in a right relationship with Him. Reconciled to Him.

But what does it mean to do righteousness?

Does it mean to do God’s will? To act in such a way as to bring Him glory? To love like He loves?

And justice. To be fair. Equitable. Lawful. Right.

Yet God’s justice is administered with grace and mercy.

Yes, He punishes those who sin. Who transgress. Who rebel and reject Him.

But He also offers all of us a way out. A scape “goat” (Leviticus 4:23) in the person of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:2), who was and is the perfect “sacrifice”.

God doesn’t want our empty offerings as if we can pay for our sins in this way.

Instead, He wants us to be a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1).

“Confessing” our sins and “praying” for one another (James 5:16).


prayer : that the saints in my church would “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:10)

action : that I too would would “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord”