“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7) The redeemed of God will endeavor to walk according to His desires. When one responds to the Good News of salvation by grace through faith in and through Jesus Christ, the Gospel loses the form of an external law and then becomes an internal principle of life. Out of the biblical doctrine of grace, the biblical mandate for ethics develops (Ephesians 4:17 – 6:20; Titus 2:11-15).
In The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector one is confronted with the arrogance of pride on the one hand and humility on the other hand. Until the power of pride and the lack of love are broken, one will not be open to forgiveness and to good works that honor God. Those who receive forgiveness must do His will. It is not true that it makes no difference how one lives after he or she has responded to God’s grace of redemption. Christians cannot live lives of debauchery, or wickedness, and be pleasing to God. Hopefully, this parable will awaken within everyone the desire to humble oneself in seeking God’s forgiveness.
If one does not adhere to this mindset of obedience after forgiveness, one will continue to be stubborn, rebellious, and proud. One kind of behavior leads to destruction, while the other kind of behavior leads to eternal life. Christians should never take their Christianity lightly (Matthew 7:15-23). What does the parable say to you? Are you like the Pharisee in your approach to God, or are you like the tax collector in your approach to God? What does this parable convey to you? Is your disposition like the Pharisee or like the tax collector? What do the following Scriptures mean to you?
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.” (Hebrews 12:14-17)
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:15-16)
May the Lord bless you!