18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt:
18:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
18:11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
18:12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’
18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
There are two types of people that are depicted here. The Pharisee is one who is under the impression that works is what saves them and draws them closer to God. The tax collector represents one who recognizes the severity of their sin and that their works cannot earn them salvation.
The mark of a true Christian is one who understands the Biblical truth that we are saved by faith alone. Ephesians 2:8 speaks to that exact truth “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”. There is nothing that we can possibly do to earn our salvation. No matter how “good” of a person we think we are, our hearts are still deceptive and prone to sin. It is only through faith in God and the belief that we are lost and in need of a savior, that gives us the opening for God to accept as sinners, offer us forgiveness and make us new again.
Grace is the most precious gift that we could ever receive from God. Looking to ourselves and our own deeds as humans is a futile and dangerous path. God looks at our hearts and sees if we are truly aligned with loving Him and following after Him. A true believers heart is first filled with a love and zeal for God and then translated to our outward actions. Let us humbly come to God, seeking Him for strength to live out the Christian faith, trusting in His leading, guidance and love.
Jesus’ parable points out one of the major things that God asks of us, to be humble and sincere. Jesus introduced the revolution of keeping your heart and mind clean, not just your exterior.
What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them. (Matthew 5:11)
Being a Christian is much more than just following the ritual and rules. It is more than obedience and duty. It’s a matter of a converted heart and mind that is humble before God.
Without humility can one be truly repentant of their sins?