An evangelist was earnestly attempting to lead a man to Christ. Referring to the prayer of the tax collector in Luke 18:13, he said to the troubled seeker, “See how even a despised publican found peace and deliverance when in true repentance he humbly cried to the Lord for pardon.” “But I have been a greater sinner than he was,” said the needy soul. ”I’ve been a Pharisee!” “Well,” replied the counselor, “since the Lord was so glad to hear a publican cry out, ‘God be merciful to me,’ just imagine how He would rejoice to hear a Pharisee repeat that same prayer!” His words dispelled the clouds of doubt and despondency that the devil had used to entrap this man. Kneeling in contrition, the man prayed the sinner’s prayer and was saved.
Some people have so much religion that they think they don’t need to be saved! They rely on their good ethics, charitable giving, or oft-repeated, empty prayers. They make the tragic mistake of supposing that their own merits are capable of winning the favor of God. Many a person has gone to hell believing that deadly lie. The socially respected individual is as much as in need of Christ’s atoning merits as the drunkard or drug addict.
Don’t trust your outward morality or faithful church attendance, but examine your heart to see if you have been born again. If not, pray, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” You will find that He longs to save “Pharisees.” – Henry G. Bosch
Cast your futile efforts down,
Down at Jesus feet;
Stand in Him, in Him alone,
Gloriously complete. – Proctor
Many who have tons of religion haven’t one ounce of salvation.
– November 14, 1987, Our Daily Bread