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Bible Truths for Today

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  • Writer's pictureDale Buchanan

Good Guy Lost, Bad Guy Saved

“God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are” (Luke 18:11 KJV)

“God, be merciful to me a sinner.” Luke 18:13

What a paradox! This devotional title does not make sense and seems contradictory to reason.

Shouldn’t good guys go to Heaven and bad guys go to hell? Yet, in this parable, Jesus is teaching just the opposite. The good guy, the Pharisee, does good things - fasts twice a week and gives tithes. He doesn’t do bad things. The publican, a hated tax collector working for the Romans, represented everything the Jews regarded as evil.

In all his religiosity, the Pharisee regarded himself as much better than the despised publican. His self-importance, good works, pride, and self-sufficiency assuredly made him worthy of Heaven.

The publican knew his condition. He readily confessed that he was a sinner and asked simply for mercy. He was a sinner, unworthy even to lift up his eyes toward Heaven.

Jesus said the publican was justified (declared righteous in God’s eyes), but not the Pharisee.

The Pharisee didn’t realize that his good works, moral character, and religious acts could never earn him entrance into the kingdom of God.

Jesus proclaimed to another religious man, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3). Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8,9, “For by GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”

Trusting Jesus and His blood shed for your sin is the only way to salvation. Turn from sin today and trust Jesus.

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