And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 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. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 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.’ 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.” Luke 18:9-14
The Bible tells us in Romans 3:10 that “There is none who are righteous, no not one,” and in verse 23 “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I write this because there are far too many people who think, “Well, Jesus died for sinners, and I am a righteous person. I love God, and I love my neighbor, so I need no savior.” That thought puts them at odds with God. Actually making God and the Scriptures their enemy.
One man, a Pharisee, a greatly religious man considered himself better than the other. Being full of himself he prayed “with himself”. Did you notice how Jesus said that. God did not hear that man’s prayer. Full of himself separated from God.
The other man, a publican, to us a tax collector, despised by the Jewish people, because these men were Jews themselves taking their people’s money for the Roman government. He came to the temple to pray, and prayed simply, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” He knew his need of forgiveness and cleansing, and he left the temple “Justified,” but not the Pharisee.
The way to forgiveness and cleansing of sin is by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. The only way of forgiveness of sin is because Jesus died for us, was buried and He rose again.
The Psalmist wrote, “A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).