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Do not fool yourself

Luke 18:9-14

Pastor David Ernst

Eleventh Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Aug 15, 2021 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Second Commandment, written on stone tablets by God through Moses, reads like this: Do not misuse the name of the Lord, your God. What does this mean? In the Small Catechism, the answer is: We must fear and love God in such a way that we do not use his name to curse, swear, spell, lie or deceive, but instead invoke him in every need, adore him, praise him and give him thanks. .

There is a lot to think about on this list, but today I want to focus on a way of lying or deceiving.

"Two men went up to the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee, standing up, prayed with himself in this way: God, I thank you because I am not like other men, thieves, unjust, adulterers not even like this publican; I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I have."

The Jews observed the third, sixth, and ninth hours of the day as hours of prayer. If possible, they would go up to the temple to pray or, if not, turn toward the temple. The main places of prayer in the temple were the corridors, porticoes, or inner courtyards, where there was little or no distraction or disturbance.

However, the Pharisee, a member of the strictest sect among the Jews, made himself as prominent and conspicuous as possible. He proudly listed his supposed virtues, boasted that he had not harmed others; he was not an extortionist, nor was he a thief who openly seized the property of his neighbor; he was not unjust, he paid his debts and gave each one what was due to him; and he had never openly lived in sins of the flesh.

Furthermore, although God had reserved only one day of the year as a fast day for all the people, the great Day of Atonement, the stricter Pharisees added voluntary fasts on Mondays and Thursdays; the last, because on that day it was said that Moses had ascended Mount Sinai; the first, because they believed that he had come down from the mountain that day. This Pharisee was also very strict about giving tithes, the tenth part of everything he owned, even the smallest vegetable in the garden, Matthew 23:23.

This kind of worship, prayer, praise is nothing but hypocrisy and boasting; This type of man is not honest with God and with his neighbor and, what is worse, does not ask God for anything, does not want anything to do with God's love and mercy. And therefore he remain in his sins and God considers him unjust and treats him accordingly.

"But the publican, being far away, did not even want to raise his eyes to heaven, but he struck his chest, saying: God, be merciful to me, a sinner."

The publican does not compare himself to anyone and asks for mercy. The publican had none of the arrogance and self-assertion of the Pharisee. In his eyes, there is only one sinner worthy of mention, only one whose sins he can see; and that is himself. He only asks for the grace of God. The publican is a type of the repentant sinner, who knows and acknowledges his sin, who feels his guilt in his heart and conscience, who confesses his guilt before God, but also turns to the Lord regarding his merciful and merciful God , and so receives the grace of God, the forgiveness that is assured to all sinners in Jesus, the Savior.

"I tell you, this one went down to his house justified before the other; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Christ's judgment in this case is clear and complete. With emphasis he declares that the publican, went down to his house justified by him, he forgave him before the other, the Pharisee. He received the atonement from Jesus through faith in the Messiah. However, we should not put a halo around this man's head simply because he acknowledged his sins. Scripture never glorifies sin, but it does glorify repentance by which one is justified through faith in Jesus Christ, the antithesis of works and merit.

The most wonderful truths in the scriptures are the universal atonement and objective justification in Christ Jesus. But impenitence and unbelief render the promises of God in Christ ineffective for the individual.

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness ”(1 John 1: 8-9).

This is the promise of absolution. In the Word of God there is no lie, therefore, that is why we have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

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