“God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”

I came across this beautiful explanation of the doctrine of justification by faith alone in John H. Gerstner’s, Primitive Theology, and thought that I would share it with you before I go to attend a Session Meeting in Beaumont.

And He also told this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:  “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer.  “The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer.  I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’  “But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’  “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

The publican of whom Christ spoke could only cry out for mercy, but he “went down to his house justified.” Suppose he was 30 when he went down to his house justified, and lived, after returning all that he had stolen, another 50 years of exemplary Christian service. Suppose he went up to that temple and prayed again. It would be the same prayer: “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Primitive Theology, pages 289)



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