Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 10, 2019

“God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 18:9-14.

“And He also told this parable to some people 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 collector.  The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself:  ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people:  swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week;  I pay tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector, 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 to his house justified rather than the other;  for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 18:9-14.


Other doctrine trust in themselves that they are righteous enough to provide something to distinguish themselves worthy of salvation whether it be works or at least the will to be saved.

But, Reformed Doctrine does not trust in itself to provide anything to distinguish themselves worthy of salvation, correctly understanding man’s natural condition presented by Scripture which it summarizes as “Total Depravity”.  We are “dead” in sin.  Ephesians 2:1-5.    None of us is righteous, none understands, none of us seeks God, and none does good.  Romans 3:10-18.  We are hostile to God.  Romans 8:7 and Colossians 1:21.  We are in bondage to sin.  Romans 7:14-15.

Reformed Doctrine understands that in order for it to be saved, God would need to provide everything for salvation from the beginning to the end:  from the beginning of God’s “Unconditional Election” through God’s “Limited Atonement” through God’s “Irresistible Grace” to the end of God’s “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP” as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.  

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:15-16.

“God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”


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