But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” 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 18:13-14


As we approach Easter, I have been thinking about the good news of our salvation through Jesus Christ. This good news is completely counter to our world now just as it was to the world when Jesus walked the earth. Let’s face it: we, like the Pharisees, like to have a hand in our own salvation. I mean, give me a religious checklist, and I am on it. I will come to church twice a week, tithe like nobody’s business, and volunteer in order to feel better about my sin and relationship with God.

The Gospel cuts right against this, though, by saying only through humility will we find justification. We will only be saved through humbling ourselves and admitting not only that we need saving, but also that we cannot save ourselves. This is truly radical for us, because in every area of life, we are told to try harder, to perform better, and then enlightenment will come. Through superior performance, we will truly feel good about ourselves and our standing in life.

“Those who humble themselves will be exalted.” This is what sets Christianity apart from the plethora of other belief systems today. You only have to humble yourself, admit you can’t possibly save yourself, and call upon Jesus to save you, and you will be saved and transformed. This humility is tough to swallow, but it is gloriously liberating when we realize how freely salvation is given to us.

My prayer for us today is that we will rejoice in the fact that salvation indeed doesn’t depend on our effort or good performance, but is, instead, a gift given freely through Jesus. All we have to do is humble ourselves like the tax collector above and depend on Jesus to justify us.


Dear Father,

Let us humbly come to you for salvation and redemption and rejoice that we are so freely loved.


Stephen Collins

Director of Contemporary Music and Production


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