Our Righteousness is in Christ not Ourselves
Category : General
St. Luke 18:13 (KJV)
13And 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.
It is said, “He who acknowledges that he is guilty and convicted, and then proceeds to implore pardon, disavows all confidence in works…”; and that Christ’s object was to show that God will not be gracious to any but those who betake themselves with trembling to his mercy alone.”
The prayer of the publican was totally different from that of the Pharisee. He made no boast of his own righteousness toward God or man. He felt and knew that he was a sinner, and, feeling it, was willing to acknowledge it. This is the kind of prayer that will be acceptable to God. When we are willing to confess and forsake our sins, we shall find mercy, Proverbs 28:13. The publican was willing to do this in any place; in the presence of any persons; amid the multitudes of the temple, or alone. He felt most that “God” was a witness of his actions, and he was willing, therefore, to confess his sins before him. While we should not “seek” to do this “publicly,” yet we should be willing at all times to confess our manifold transgressions, to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same by God’s infinite goodness and mercy.”
Here is not a word of boasting, that he was not such or such, nor yet that he did thus or thus. He confessed himself a sinner, a miserable sinner, and fled to the free grace of God; thereby instructing us how to make our applications to God, disclaiming any goodness or righteousness in ourselves, and fleeing to the alone merits of Christ, and the free grace of God in and through him. Not because he was a heathen, and dared not approach the holy place; (for it is likely he was a Jew); but because he was a true penitent, and felt himself utterly unworthy to appear before God. It is not dishonorable to make acknowledgment when we have done wrong. No man is so much dishonored as he who is a sinner and is not willing to confess it; as he who has done wrong and yet attempts to “conceal” the fault, thus adding hypocrisy to his other crimes.
Though he is a sinner, he trusts to a free pardon, and hopes that God will be gracious to him. In a word, in order to obtain favor, he owns that he does not deserve it. Friends, to ask God to be merciful to us sinners do not mean that He should let us go on sinning, and kindly overlook it, in consideration of a touching posture or a humble word. But it does mean that He accepts the sorrowful sighing over a shameful past as an earnest of a good life for the future, and of a conversation which, looking at the merits of Jesus Christ, in all humility may say, ‘I am not ashamed of what I have been, being by God’s grace what I am.’ Whom the Son set free, is free indeed!
Have a Great and God filled Day