Jesus also used this illustration with some who were sure that God approved of them while they looked down on everyone else.
He said, “Two men went into the temple courtyard to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people! I’m not a robber or a dishonest person. I haven’t committed adultery. I’m not even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my entire income.’
“But the tax collector was standing at a distance. He wouldn’t even look up to heaven. Instead, he became very upset, and he said, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
“I can guarantee that this tax collector went home with God’s approval, but the Pharisee didn’t. Everyone who honors himself will be humbled, but the person who humbles himself will be honored.”
If you declare that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God brought him back to life, you will be saved.
So then, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God [which He has laid] stands [sure and unshaken despite attacks], bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord stand apart from wickedness and withdraw from wrongdoing.”
The kindness of God leads us to repentance.
When we understand what Jesus did for us, all of us undeserving of His grace, we should be heartsick over our sinful ways.
We should say, “I can’t believe I did that. What was I thinking?”
“Man, I wish I knew about Jesus from the start.”
God’s mercy endures forever.
Even if you lived your whole life as a miserable sinner, devoid of God’s love, absent of any purpose except selfishness and pride, there is hope.
Even if you’re on your death bed, seconds from eternity, it’s not too late.
God’s will is that none should perish.
One human lifetime of sin is nothing compared to an eternity spent with Him.
It’s never too late to start again.
Until it is.
Until that final breath of life escapes your lips.
Then it’s too late.
You can’t repent when you’re dead.
Only judgment awaits.
We humans think people should get what they deserve.
But God’s ways are higher than our ways.
Jesus Christ is the revelation of God’s mercy, grace and love.
Mercy, grace and love from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ are yours!
If you’re willing to accept it and reject the fallen ways of living after the flesh.
By believing you are justified before God by faith in Christ Jesus.
You can go ahead and die now and be assured that you will live forever in the Presence of God.
That’s Good News.
But that’s not the end of the story.
It’s just the beginning.
Christianity is a way of life.
A new way of living.
We don’t live like worldly people who pursue worthless things.
We pursue God, His Kingdom and all its righteousness.
We share the Gospel.
We make disciples.
We teach people how to live rightly with our God.
We love one another like brothers and sisters in one heavenly family.
No one thinks of their possessions as their own.
We have all things in common.
Because God owns everything.
And we are His children by faith and spiritual rebirth.
We are stewards of what He has given us: our lives, our bodies, our property.
We seek to do His will first in everything.
Sometimes, He gives us some downtime to rest, rejuvenate, and relax.
The rest of the time we act as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.
The Church is an embassy of our holy nation, our family.
That’s the way it is.
If that’s not your experience, don’t feel bad, just adjust your sights.
Start praying earnestly.
Let God know what you want to see happen in your life, your family, your neighborhood, your church, your community, your city, your state, your nation, your planet.
God answers prayer.
Even if that prayer is as simple as, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
He will be if you mean it.
He will reveal the truth to you.
And the truth will set you free.
Jesus is the Truth of God in human flesh.
And His death, burial and resurrection confirm that He is the Promised One, the Savior, the Son of God, the Holy One of Israel.
No matter where you’re at in this life, today is another day.
A chance to start over.
An opportunity to turn from sin, and return to God.
His mercies are new every morning.
A day is the chance of a lifetime.
The dawning of promise.
God is waiting.
Waiting for you to recognize your need for Him.
He wants to take you by the hand.
Cleanse you of all iniquity.
Clothe you in His righteousness.
And live inside of you, by His Holy Spirit.
He wants to lead and guide you, everyday, to speak His word and live His way.
To touch this world as His living representative.
To go and do even greater things than He did during His short time visibly manifested in the flesh.
Does that sound good to you?
Then pray with me:
Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner.
I realize now I have sinned against You.
I did not act in love towards everyone around me.
Forgive me, Lord.
Wash me and make me new.
I rededicate my life to You today.
Help me to walk with You everyday.
In Jesus’ Name I pray.
God will answer your request of Him.
He loves you.
May you tangibly feel His Presence and His love for you right now.
Now go and share that love with everyone you meet today!
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.