In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus told of two men who went down to worship. One was a publican and the other was a Pharisee.
The Pharisee was so proud of his religious heritage and his legalistic achievement that he looked up to Heaven and said to God (I am paraphrasing here):
“I thank you, Lord, that I am not like that sinner, for I have done this and I have done that and I have done the other thing and I really am a good guy.”
The publican came in, bowed his head in conviction over his sin, pounded his chest in repentance and said, “God have mercy on me, for I am a sinner.”
Jesus did not leave us guessing who was acceptable to God.
He said, in effect, that the repentant sinner went home justified before God, but not the Pharisee.
This is a very different conclusion from the one so many, even those who claim to be Christians, hold when it comes to people.
No wonder the Scripture emphasizes this distinguishing feature of the Christian faith in 1 John 1:8-9 when it says that, “if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.”
Why does the Scripture emphasize over and over again this whole idea of God loving repentant sinners?
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