721 N. Memorial Drive, Lancaster, OH 43130 // Main Service: Sunday 9 & 11am // Movement Youth Sunday 5:30pm

The Sinner’s Prayer

You and I are sinners in need of forgiveness. How’s that for an introduction to today’s devotion?! While it may not be what we want to hear, it’s the truth. In today’s devotion, we are going to look at how God responds to the heartfelt sinner’s prayer, and how His work on the cross allows us to experience forgiveness. Please join me in prayer as we begin:

Holy Spirit, would You speak to me today? Would you please open my mind to the things You want to reveal to me, and help me to understand my next steps? I know You want to work in my life, and I want to be willing to allow that work to take place.  Amen.

Luke 18:9-14 (NLT)
9Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 “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.’ 14I 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.”

If you’re a parent to multiple children, you have most likely had a scenario when one child, being corrected for something they have done wrong, wants to explain why his/her mistake isn’t as big as a sibling’s mistake. They are almost justifying what they’ve done isn’t as bad as what someone else did. This type of attitude makes it difficult to have a true heart of repentance. But when one of our children sees his/her mistake for what it is, it is easy for true repentance to occur.  

In today’s scripture passage, we see Jesus illustrate two completely different types of prayers: the prideful speech from the Pharisee and the repentant cry of a tax collector. Both needed forgiveness (as we all do), yet their postures couldn’t have been more opposing. The Pharisee compared himself to others, while the tax collector recognized his sin.  

Have you ever had an experience where you truly recognized your need for repentance? Take a few minutes and think through how you responded.  

The tax collector’s recognition of his sin and turning to God for forgiveness is what Jesus praised. In verse 14, we see Jesus explain that the tax collector’s response allowed him to be justified before God. We too have the same opportunity to be justified before God. Through Jesus’ sacrifice and atoning work on the cross, we can receive forgiveness from God. Jesus’ blood was shed on our behalf. He paid the price we couldn’t pay for our sins to be forgiven.

Is your response to your sin one of pride or one of humble repentance?  

We serve a merciful, loving, and kind Savior. Jesus’ love, so evidently demonstrated through His sacrifice, gives all of us the opportunity to receive forgiveness and be in right standing with God. What a beautiful gift we can receive when we cry out to God in repentance.  

Ask God to help you recognize the sin you have in your life and to approach Him humbly.
Ask God to help you receive His forgiveness and to have joy knowing you are made clean.

I pray that you go throughout your day knowing you have a Savior who loves and forgives you.  

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