To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Luke 18:9-14 (NIV)
If we are honest we all have a bit of the tendency of the Pharisee in us. As Christians we must guard against a self-righteous contentedness that assumes that we are ‘all right’, while others aren’t quite at the same level of understanding as us.
When I becme a Christian in 1971 the church I attended had an attitude that there were no other churches in the area that understood Christianity as they did. I always found this difficult and knew it to be untrue, because I met with other people my own age from Presbytian, Anglican, Methodist and Baptist churches, to study the Bible and to pray together. In all my encounters with these people from different backgrounds I never doubted their standing in Christ.
I have also met many people who attend church, who when you talk to them about faith their eyes glaze over and you know they do not understand what you are talking about. Many of these people practice a gospel of good works and not of grace.
Pray that God will open our eyes to see the richness of his church and also pray that people will come to a living faith in Christ.
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