God Be Merciful to Me, a Pharisee

“God Be Merciful To Me A Pharisee.” - Lk 18:13

    You who have read this text realize that I misquoted it. It really says, "God be merciful to me a sinner."

    The Pharisee prayed and thanked God that he wasn't like the Publican - a condemned sinner. But in all reality he was as much a sinner as the Publican was. He wasn't outwardly immoral as the Publican, but in his heart, before God, he was as vile as the Publican.  In God's eyes there is no difference; 'all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.'

   The Publican was uncovered in his own eyes. He was made to see himself sinful and deserving of God's displeasure, and he owned it by what he had ask God for, - "mercy". "God be merciful to me a sinner."

   The Pharisee never was uncovered in his own eyes. He thanked God that he was different from the Publican. He had no awareness of his sin. No awareness of his need of mercy. No awareness of his need of a work of grace in his heart. Everything he thought he needed to stand before God and be accepted he had provided for all by himself.

   God abhorred this Pharisee. He cannot endure for flesh to come before him in such ignorance and arrogance. "He trusted in himself that he was righteous and despised others," Christ said, and God despises such self-trust.

   The Publican needed a work of grace in his heart and so did the Pharisee. In a sense the Pharisee needed a deeper work of grace than the Publican. In a sense his sin was worse because self-righteousness blinds the mind more than outward and profane sins. If profane sins has damned it's thousands, self-righteousness has damned it's tens of thousands.

   Every child of God still has these two men in him. One a Pharisee,  and the other a Publican. We often pray, 'be merciful to me a sinner,' but do we not secretly brag, 'God I thank you that I am not like other men are. I am not ignorant like other men. I know the truth. I know the doctrines of grace. I am not like those foolish Arminians whom I despise?"

  May God uncover our hearts to see that we need to repent of being a Pharisee as well as being a Publican.

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