Monday, 8 June 2009


Luke 18:9-14

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about[a] himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

God had mercy, I am perfect!

The standards are set high. The Bible commands us not to murder, it then goes on to say that being angry at someone could be just as bad. It tells us not to commit adultery, but then goes on the say that a lustful look is just as bad. We are commanded to love our neighbour as ourselves, not to be afraid, and to give without expecting anything in return. We are called to a high standard, and if we break one small part of the law, then we are guilty of breaking it all. Jesus sums up what is required of us in Matthew 5:48. We are to be perfect.
Yesterday I realized something. I am perfect! I haven’t killed anyone, so I figure I am doing pretty well. However, in grade 4, I was angry at my friend. I became so angry in fact that caused her to die in the story I was writing about us. It was a few years later when I realized the full extent of how horrible that had been. I was, in a sense, a murderer. There is not much perfection in that. My perfection comes not from what I do. No tithing will make up for my sin. No volunteer efforts will reverse my selfishness.
The calling is high. We all fail and nothing we do can make up for our short comings, but the tax collector went home justified before God. He was acceptable in God’s sight, and God accepts only those who live up to the standards. The tax collector was made right in the sight of God. God saw him as perfect!
God can see us as perfect because he sees Jesus when he looks on us. Christ took for us the debt owed for our sins. He paid it for none of us could have.
I cry out “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” And, he does! This is good news. This is exciting! I am justified before God. My sin has been taken away, and I am perfect!
I must never become like the Pharisees. Far be it from me to think that I can stand before God because of what I have done. It is his grace alone which allows me into his Holy Presence. I have been let into his Presence, a way has been made for me, and since it is a Holy Presence, then logically only that which is perfect could stand before God. I am perfect. I can stand.
God I Thank you for your great love: the mercy and grace you have showered upon me. Your grace is enough. There are no works which bring me closer to you. It is only by grace that I can approach your throne. Amen and Amen!


  1. yeti

    An interesting post.

    When Christ said to lend hoping for nothing in return he meant as a profit. This is something that confuses some. I'm not sure it you were aware of that, or your readers, so thought it needed mentioning.

    Also your writing is presenting one side of the equasion, and I feel the other should be mentioned just in case there is confusion in some. We must also become sanctified by the Spirit throught changing ourselves into living Christ like lives. Works are important in this regard. The atonement saves us from hell. And without it we can't enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    But we must cease sinning.

  2. Mr. Towers,

    Thanks for your comment.
    From Luke 6:34-35 I really gather that Jesus meant for us to lend expecting nothing back. Nothing.
    I find the King James Version difficult to understand, but the New American Standard Version writes "If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.
    But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men."

    I don't know if I feel like it is only half the equasion. I believe it is complete. Of course I believe that anyone who has recieved this gift of grace from God will change, but i believe that change comes from God living in them and not human efforts. (Titus 2:11-12). I believe it is by grace that we are saved fully, and that this is a gift (Romans 6:23) If it was by works, then it would no longer be by grace (Hebrews 11:6) nor a gift. I believe we will cease sinning, but our salvation is not dependant on that. I believe Christ is able to completely save us (Hebrews 7:25) and not anything we can do.

    I hope those verses help explain where I am coming from, and why I see the equasion as complete in Christ. Thankyou for the comment, and If I can clarify for you, my thoughts about this anymore, let me know.


  3. yeti

    In the Greek the KJV is more to the original statement. ie it has made no assumption. The NASV has made an interpretation that doesn't exist in the Greek.

    It is true that it could be viewed either way. But the Spirit and logic both give me my opinion. And so I read it that way. That is up to you.

    As to being saved by grace. It is plainly stated that we are saved by grace. But saved from what? You are saying that it means saved from being anywhere but with God. But the Scriptures say that it is saved from sin. Nothing more and nothing less.

    Since we are saved by grace and no works we do can save us, why is it that Christ stated that those who have not fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited those in prison and comforted the sick won't go with him to heaven?

    And further, why is it that Christ said that many will say to me on that day, have we not done this in your name and that in your name; and he will say to them to depart from him because they are still sinning?

    This demonstrates that both good works and a lack of evil works are required to get into the Kingdom of Heaven.

    So as we are saved from our sins without works, yet don't get into heaven without works obviously they don't mean the same thing.

  4. Mr. Towers
    The parable of the sheep and the goats as found in Matthew 25 is an interesting one. I think it speaks deeply of God's care for the "least of these" and those who are being transformed by God into his likeness will care deeply for the hungry and the poor. Thier care will lead to action.
    Christ's words of rejection to those who call to him saying "Lord, Lord" speak of relationship, "I never knew you" that is why they are sent away. (i am suer they did many good works as they professed, but they are still evildoers.)
    I don't know the greek to comment on the translation of Luke 6, but it sounds like Jesus is calling the people to something radical, more radical than just lending and expecting the same amount back, for I think most people would do that.
    Another idea I have heard about the sheep and goats is that it is a judgement standard for the world who never hears about Christ, but I don't know how I feel about that one.
    Christ came to save us from our sins, Amen. I believe he fully saves us, and from the consequences of them as well. He is the one who saves us from our sins:he is the one who changes us so that we stop sinning. He has taken the punishment and he offers us a new life. Because we are saved from our sin we can be in a right relationship with God. Then on that day he will not say to me "I never knew you" because we will have been in a relationship, because I am able to appear before him as sinless, because Christ paid to forgive my sins, and God can look on me as he looks at Christ, full of love.
    Peace, I pray that we "May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that [we] might be filled with all the fulness of God." Eph 4:18-19

  5. yeti

    Matthew chapter 25's version of the second coming is a bit simplistic. It only mentions the sheep and the goats. But the Bible reveals that there must have been cattle in there also.

    As the sheep all go to Heaven with Christ, and the wicked are destroyed, who continues to inhabit the earth for the next thousand years of the Millenium?

    The sheep are all resurrected. Yet life goes on, with children being born and people living and dying.

    There are more than 2 outcomes.

    It is true that if you have truly accepted to follow Christ and repented of your sins that they are forgiven. But God doesn't promise that it will be all that is required to get into the kingdom of heaven.

    You must become as the merchant who gave up EVERYTHING to get there. Is there nothing that God could ask you to give up that you wouldn't?

    What if you were called upon to practice plural marriage, for example? How would you go with sharing a spouse?

    Or if he asked you to sacrifice a child, as he did with Abraham? Are you really converted?

    If you see a rope hanging down from a cliff you believe OF the rope. It is there. You can see it. But only if you are prepared to risk your life by climbing with the rope do you actually believe IN the rope.

    Unfortunately I find that the vast majority of those professing to believe IN Christ only believe OF Christ. And only the former will gain eternal life.

  6. Cattle? I dont know man. You are making a lot of assumptions about the end of times there.
    We are called to give up everything (though your examples of sacrifice are slightly irrelevant in my life as I am neither married nor do i have children.) If I don't give up everything we are sinning... good thing that God's grace is enough to make up for the times that we sin. That is exactally why Christ died, because we cannot be perfect on our own. we tend not to give up everything.

    As for believing IN verses believing OF, i agree with you. I could believe that Jesus came to earth and died for my sin and it would have no real value. but he did that because he loves me, because he wants to be in relationship with me, and so I accept that, and that is when it becomes real. We are called to put our life on the line and trust that God is faithful.