The Deceitfulness of Self Righteousness – Luke 18:1-23

From my reading in Luke 18:1-23 in the One Year New Testament.

Jesus tells a powerful story of people who had great confidence in their own righteousness. A Pharisee and a tax collector to the temple to pray…

The Pharisee thanked God that he wasn’t a sinner like everyone else,“I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week and I give you a tenth of my income.” Luke 18:11-12

The tax collector stood at a distance and didn’t even dare to lift his eyes to heaven because of his shame. Instead he beat his chest in sorrow and prayed, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” Luke 18:13

Here’s is Jesus summary of the parable…

“I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:14

This would have shocked his audience who hated tax collectors and looked up to the “righteous” Pharisees.

Only The Penitent Man May Pass

One of my favorite scenes in the Indiana Jones series is when he reads the phrase “only the penitent man may pass.” He reads it over and over then then suddenly realizes that he needs to kneel to keep his head from getting removed from his body!  So he does and avoids the decapitation.

Only the “penitent man” will be forgiven and exalted by God.

Our works of righteousness can trick us into thinking that we don’t need forgiveness. One of the problems with the Pharisee was that he was “good” by the world’s standards, but he was not considering God’s standards. It is true that compared to most people the Pharisees were indeed better off. But their comparison led to pride, which actually separates from God.

Even the most “holy” among us need Christ’s forgiveness.

“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6

To receive the forgiveness of Jesus we must realize that even our best efforts don’t earn us favor with God.  They are useless in gaining God’s favor and will be thrown out like dirty rag.

Are you willing to admit your sin to God or are you relying on your good deeds to earn you His favor?

If you like this article share it on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe by Email.



Hell Is For Real – Luke 16

From my reading in Luke 16 in the One Year New Testament.

Hell is a taboo subject in our culture. The movie “Heaven is For Real” is a best seller and made it to the big screen, but I’m not sure that the sequel “Hell is For Real” would be as well received. People love to think about the joys of heaven but cringe at the thought of Hell.

I don’t like the idea of hell either, but I think it is important for believers to be motivated to save people and for non-believers to wake up to the tragic reality before them.

Jesus tells a parable about a rich man and a poor man, named Lazarus, that gives us some valuable information about hell. Keep in mind that this is a parable, so it is not meant to be a doctrinal passage about what hell is like. But from the context of the passage, we can still learn some things.

When I share these principles, I don’t share them with joy, but with a heavy heart.

Hell Is A Place Of Torment

“and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.” Luke 16:23

Hell is a place of torment. The Louw Nida lexicon defines torment here as “severe pain associated with torture and torment.” Torture is perhaps the worst physical human experience we can observe, so someone who is tormented would be experiencing that type of pain.

Hell Is Hot

“The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.” Luke 16:24

The pain that is experienced is like being burned by flames, which is arguably the worst pain people can experience. Hell is often described in relation to burning and flames, but the ironic thing is that, unlike earthly fire, it does not consume the victim or ever go out.

Hell Is Permanent 

“And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.” Luke 16:26

In the same way that Heaven is eternity with God, Hell is eternity separated from God. There is a great separation and no one can escape once they are in Hell. The mission is urgent because Hell is permanent and we only have a short window of time to reach people before it’s too late!

God Has Provided An Escape From Hell

“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’ ” Luke 16:31

God sent the prophets of the Old testament to give people an opportunity repent and turn to God for forgiveness. It is interesting that Abraham said “they won’t even listen if someone rises from the dead,” and that is exactly what Jesus did!

Jesus died so that you and I don’t have to go to hell.

He took the punishment we deserved on the cross and rose from the dead. Some people know this fact but still don’t listen.

They stubbornly try to keep control of their own life, livings separated from God on this earth. Unfortunately, that decision has eternal consequences and they will continue to be separated from God for eternity in hell.

We don’t have to be punished for our sins because Jesus was punished for us! 

He came back to life and offers us life along with him!

All we have to do is repent of our sin, surrender control of our life to God and receive the free gift of eternal life now and in heaven.

Hell is for real and you don’t want to go there.

If it wasn’t then why would Jesus have to die? 

If you like this article share it on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe by Email.