Luke 18: Still Not Pure
Reality is sometimes hard to face, and Jesus tells a parable in Luke 18 that challenges us to understand our own predicament.
Luk 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Luk 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Luk 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Luk 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luk 18:13 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.
Luk 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
This stood out to me because I think that we all have a tendency to put our best foot forward. Most of the time, I don’t think that is a bad thing, but look at how the Pharisee prays. His prayer is all about being better than other people, and the truth is that all people are sinful. Outside of Jesus Christ, there has not been a perfect person. Therefore, if it is our hope is in the fact that we are better than someone else, it still won’t be enough.
If you think about water that is 90% salt or 10% salt, it is still salt water. It isn’t pure. That is kind of what is going on here. The fact that we are sinful is enough to separate us from God, and these types of comparisons do not reflect the reality of the situation.
That is why Jesus called him out. The Pharisee was no more pure in the first place, and even if the other guy had committed some pretty major violations, he came to God asking for forgiveness which is what the Pharisee should have been doing even for his presumably “minor” offenses.
All sin separates us from God, and while some forms have more consequences than others without a doubt, the bottom line is that all of us need to come to God no matter what our offense with humility and find forgiveness.