OUR RIGHTEOUS STANDING
THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION
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!’” (Luke 18:9-13).
Two men. Both are
Jewish. Both are descendants of
Abraham. Both have come to the temple to
pray. The first is a Pharisee. He is a fundamentalist. He holds to the literal interpretation of the
Scriptures. As a member of the sect of
the Pharisees, he has dedicated his life to the keeping of the Law of God. He reads the Law daily. He prays several times a day. He gives his tithe to the
Standing nearby is the other
man. This man is a tax-gatherer. He has gone to the Roman officials and has
purchased a franchise from the Roman Empire to collect taxes from the
subjugated people on behalf of
Therefore, he makes his profit by deliberately overcharging people on their taxes. He has betrayed his countrymen to become a thief for the Romans. He is a Benedict Arnold. He has sold out to the Romans for money. No one will have anything to do with him. He holds the same social caste as a prostitute.
Each of these men comes to
“I tell you, this man went does to his house JUSTIFIED rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:14).
Both of these men were
sinners when they came into the
What does it mean to be “justified”? The most common definition which I have heard is that it makes me “just-as-if-I'd never sinned.” This contains a certain amount of truth, but I suggest that it is inadequate.
The word “justify” is taken