1 - The Publican's Salvation

"And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner"
(Luke 18:13)

Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a publican (a despised tax collector). The Pharisee's prayer was a proud prayer, but the publican's prayer was a humble prayer.

Christ said that the publican prayed the best prayer. His prayer is most instructive. In this verse on the prayer of the publican is separation of sin, shame of sin, sentence upon sin, and salvation from sin.

Separation of sin. "Standing afar off." This position is in reference to the Holy Place in the Temple. The publican got as far away from it as he could and still be in the prayer court of the Temple because the publican sensed his sinfulness before God.

Sin separates from God. When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God. Sin drives away from God.

Shame of sin. "Would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven." Usually people lift their eyes upward when praying. But the publican, conscious of his sin, felt the awful shame of sin and would not look up.

The Prophet Ezra spoke of this when he said, "O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee . . . for our iniquities are increased" (Ezra 9:6). Sin brings shame, not honor.

Sentence upon sin. "Smote upon his breast." To beat on the breast as here speaks of the awareness of the condemnation which the sinner feels he has merited at the hand of God for his sin. It reflects an attitude necessary for repentance.

Salvation from sin. "Be merciful to me a sinner." Here is the approach for salvation. The publican came via mercy. You will not get receive an audience with the Lord by merit, only by mercy. Here is acknowledgement for salvation: "Me a sinner."

You will not get the Lord's attention if you do not acknowledge the fact that you are a sinner. And here is the atonement for salvation.

The word translated "Be merciful to me" means "to atone . . . be propitious . . . make reconciliation" (Strong's concordance). This involves blood and sacrifice and speaks of the death of the Lord Jesus in our place on Calvary. Salvation comes through the blood of Christ shed on the cross of Calvary.
Meet the Lord Here

adapted from the book
Daily Bible Reading Sermonettes 3 by John Butler, 2005

Hope we can get together again tomorrow, God willing.
Meanwhile, have a great day walking with the Lord!

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