Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Pharisee & The Publican

Luke (18:9-14) deals with:

"two kinds of righteousness, which are found on earth... the one, which makes a great show before all the world and in the eyes of men, and yet before God it amounts to nothing, and is therefore condemned; the other, which is not known among men, and yet before God it is called righteousness and is pleasing in his sight. The one is that of the beautiful, proud saint, the Pharisee; the other, that of the poor, humble, sorrowing sinner, the publican."

from The Sermons of Martin Luther, Vol 4 Pages 349-369

I suppose we are all Pharisees. But it doesn't it just hurt and betray our trust a little when we are treated as the Publican by a supposed friend: "God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Publican."

ver. 13: "And the Publican standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his
eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a
sinner."

May we be merciful to one another, just as God has been merciful to us. And please don't say "of course I forgive you," then bear false witness and hope that God would keep you from ever having anything to do with this sinner again. We are all sinners, and in our sinful nature, we are all Pharisees too.

"for we are all self-righteous by nature; it is as natural for us to turn to
a covenant of works, as for the sparks to fly upwards" - George
Whitefield, Sermon 34
...


Even God's appointed ministers of grace live more like Pharisees when face to face with the Publican.

But.. Eph 1:3 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding."

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