Thursday, July 13, 2006

Be Merciful to Me...

Ray Ortlund, Jr., Senior Pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, spoke last night at the Founders Conference on the topic of justification. His text was Luke 18:10-14, the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. You know the story: the Pharisee and the tax collector go the temple to pray. The Pharisee prays: "God, I thank you that I am not like...this tax-collector." The tax collector prays: "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!"

I didn't take extensive notes, and I probably won't state it the same way he did or will I do it justice, but a couple of things Mr. Ortlund pointed out:

  • The Pharisee, at least, does thank God, acknowledges God's influence/provision in his life.
  • He fasts twice a week, but that isn't required under the Law.
  • The tithe he pays in on "all I get" (He did a pretty quick 180° as far as God's involvement!)
  • The tax collector understood his position before God. He was a sinner and the only thing that could make him righteous before a holy God...was God's mercy.

After making those points, Mr. Ortlund said (something like): "And the funny thing we read the prayer of the Pharisee...most of us thought, 'man, I'm glad I'm not like THAT GUY!'"

Think about it. I did.

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