Still, a sojourner and not arrived yet.
“God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Luke 18:13.
The more I know God, and the more I grow spiritually, the more and more I understand the need to remind/apply the Gospel in my life on a going basis. I need to remind myself and preach to me the truth of the Gospel on an ongoing basis. It is the same with you. May I say this, you need the power of the Gospel every day and every moment of your life.
Don’t you see, the mindset of the tax collector was different from the Pharisee. Both went to pray. The religious leader, the Pharisee, stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” He compared himself with the tax collector who was ignored and hated by society. He imagined he is far better than the tax collector. Although he must have known the truth as a Pharisee, he acted foolishly in the sight of the almighty God.
The Bible says, “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.”
After watching both, Jesus gave the final verdict- He said this about the tax collector, “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.”
The tax collector pleaded for mercy because he knew he is still a sinner. I believe this is allocating or appropriating the Gospel in the daily Christian life. We are the recipients of God’s mercy for sure. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him (Jesus Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” Did you notice God lavished His grace, mercy, and kindness on us in the person of Jesus Christ by putting all of our sins on Him?
Moreover, all day and each moment of our life, we receive God’s mercies and grace, don’t we? And I must identify myself with the tax collector. I do not want to identify with the Pharisee. Why? I need God’s mercy because I still live in the sinful flesh, and I need ongoing cleansing and forgiveness from Him. I know I am an object of His mercy because even my best deeds are tainted by sin when God looks at it. I am still a WIP-work in progress. Therefore, I need to pray, “God, have mercy on me.” I still need His mercy. The same is true for you. God honors the heart of the tax collector and condemns the heart of the Pharisee.
Isn’t it true that we need to appropriate and apply the Gospel in my life every day? When I preach to others, I have to preach to me the fundamentals of the Gospel. I need His grace, gravely, and desperately. Lord, Have mercy on me must be my prayer always.
In the olden days, I thought the Gospel message is for those who did not come to the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, I indeed need to share the good news, the Gospel, with others who do not know the Lord Jesus as their savior. However, as I grow in Him, I understand I need the Gospel and apply it in my life on an ongoing basis. I know how unworthy I am, like the tax collector in the presence of a holy and awesome God. I haven’t arrived yet on the other beautiful shore. I am still a traveler there. On the way, Satan accuses of my shortcomings. Other people criticize us because we are not up to their expected humanly designed bar. However, when I plead on His mercy and seek His help, Christ reminds me of the Gospel that His grace is sufficient for me. He says His power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9).
It is our choice to choose the path of the Pharisee or tax collector. However, I would suggest the mindset of the tax collector. I know my Lord loves it and adds blessings to it.
Have you been to Christ and accepted Him as your savior yet? Beloved, you must seek His forgiveness and mercy because Jesus loves you and died, buried, and rose again for your sins.
“Father in heaven, Help me to understand the importance of the good news of salvation in every day of my life. I know I have not arrived yet or achieved yet. I am still a work in progress as long as I live in the flesh. I look forward to that day; I would be with you, not based on my merits, but based on the person and work of Jesus. I believe Jesus died, buried, and rose again for my sins. I repent of my sins and invite Jesus to my life. Please save me. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.”