The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector; Luke 18 v 9 to 14: Contains the whole parable:
The Pharisee’s Prayer:
V 10: “Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. V 11; The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God I thank You that I’m not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like the tax collector’.”
The Tax Collectors Prayer:
V 13: ” But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God turn Your wrath from me– a sinner’!”
God is no respecter of persons, but He also knows people’s hearts, it is out of our hearts, God hears our prayers and petitions to Him.
The Pharisee was of the thinking, that it was through his service, God would hear and answer his prayer. If we serve Jesus in order to be, or to stay saved, it is a dangerous place to be in. It is ‘stinking thinking’ if we are to think our service to Jesus is what is keeping us Friends with Him.
The tax collector had a repentant heart, and his prayer was a request for undeserved forgiveness. We are all sinners saved by Grace, and there is nothing we can ever do for Our Lord and Our Friend to make Him love us more.
This was a parable in a series of stories to show God loves to find lost people, people like the tax collector, and bring them back to Him.
it is not about acts of service, it is about keeping our heart clean, so our responses to God are always from a clean heart. If for some reason our heart becomes messed up, we can learn from 1 John 1 verse 9:
“If we confess our sins. He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us for, ALL unrighteousness”.
Serving Our Lord and Our Friend to become good enough, might sound ok to many, but it is futile. It can lead to constant doubt are we ever good enough. Jesus loves us the way we are, but loves us to much to leave us that way,