When we contemplate what Jesus requires for His followers, humility is a key concept that underlies every aspect of our faith and hope. For example, consider the following, personal questions:
- When I know that I am right, that means everyone else is _________________ unless _______________________________.
- When I know that I am saved that means everyone else is_________________ unless _____________________________.
- When I know the truth then everyone else must agree with what I know to be true if they want to be ______________________ unless ______________________.
Is it possible to have confidence in what I know, to be secure in my salvation and to know the truth without it effecting how I see other people who may disagree with me, who believe differently than me or who do not understand the truths the same way that I understand them….and not judge whether or not they are right or wrong, saved or lost, thinking clearly or thinking poorly?
This was the challenge of the Pharisee (last week’s lesson: Luke 18:9-14) and, Jesus tells us that even though he was confident that he did the right things in the right ways for the right reasons he was still not justified before God.
Who was justified?
The tax collector who probably did not keep the law as carefully as the Pharisee and who realized that he had nothing to which to point that he could offer in order to be justified. “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” was his simple plea. Jesus tells us that he was the one who was justified, not the Pharisee.
When Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” He meant it. I am not justified by the blood of Christ AND anything! No one is.
The works that we do are the fruit of what God does in us through the blood of Jesus Christ. We do not judge the world by the fruit we bear but by the one who rescued us when we were helpless to save ourselves. We do not justify ourselves before God by the good He has done in us but in the fact that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all of our sin. This is our only plea. “For,” Jesus says, “all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Luke 18:14).
Today we will review last week’s lesson on humbling ourselves before God and talk about what true humility before God looks like. Jesus says it’s innocent, trusting and simply dependent, just like little children.