“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 18:13-14)

For the sake of space only a portion of this passage has been cited (start at verse 9 for greater context). Why is it that the publican is viewed as the justified one?

The publican shows all the qualities of a correct alignment with God’s teaching on Himself as supreme and man as fallen. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The Hebrew word for fear like in Psalm 111:10 and the Greek word for fear like in Acts 9:31 mean – fear. Why fear?

Because God is supremely good and man is supremely fallen. God is the the perfect Creator, the perfect Lord, the perfect Judge. He loves perfectly, gets angry perfectly, blesses perfectly, curses perfectly, carries out vengeance perfectly. This perfection is something so far outside our understanding. We know no perfect person and have difficulty relating a comparison. That teacher/politician/parent/celebrity might be really good but they are not perfect.

Contrastly, man is the fallen creation, the hater of God, the rebel. He loves imperfectly, gets angry sinfully, does wrong, fails to do right, unjustly carries out vengeance. The publican knows himself and knows that he has nothing to offer God that would add to Him and knows how imperfect he is standing before the Holy God crying out for mercy.

Today, Pastor John Samuel Barnett shows that God uses struggling and surrendered people like the publican who exhibit a correct understanding of God, of man, and a humble life that God will exhault.

(From 2014DEC14 – FTF-11 – What God Wants To Do With Spirit-Filled Days, Moms & Children – Lessons From The First Spirit-Filled Family)