daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Sunday, 30th Sunday of the Year, October 27, 2013
Sir. 35:15-17, Ps. 33, 2 Tim. 4:6-8, 16-18. Luke 18:9-14

"But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:13-14).

Here we have two men, a Pharisee who justifies himself, and a tax collector who humbles himself before God, confessing his sins, saying, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" (Luke 18:13). The Pharisee kept the law but he exalts himself, trying to justify himself before God by his good works. The tax collector did not try to justify himself but rather begged for the forgiveness and justification of God on account of his sins. And Jesus tells us that it was the tax collector who "went down to his house justified rather than the other" (Luke 18:14).

Those who try to justify themselves will not be justified by God if they do not repent and beg God's mercy and forgiveness, for it is only God who justifies man, not we ourselves through our own good works. We need to beg God's justification every day, every time we sin. St. Paul condemns those Jews of his time who reject God's free gift of justification in Jesus Christ and rather try to justify themselves with their own works. "For being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness" (Rom. 10:3).

The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the source of all justification. This is the sacrifice that God has given to us so that we could be justified by Christ's merits, not our own. Our own merits, coming from our works, are insufficient to justify us and forgive our sins (Rom. 3:20, 28), which merit death (Rom. 6:23). What folly it is to reject this source of justification that God gave us, and instead prefer our own effort to justify ourselves, something which Jesus said is impossible. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for trying to justify themselves, saying, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15).

We must always beg God for mercy, for we are always failing in something. God's justification of us is the foundation of our new life in Christ. Then we must try to do God's will in order not to lose this foundation. We should also try to do his will because we love him, and because we want to grow progressively in holiness. But we need not, and in fact cannot, merit the forgiveness of our sins through our works (Gal. 2:16). Our works are always insufficient for that. Forgiveness of sins comes only from God as a free gift that he gives to those who have faith. And this gift comes through the death of his Son on the cross for those who confess their sins and put their faith in him.

So our posture and attitude ought to be one of great humility before God, confessing our sins, for we always have new sins, and invoking Jesus as our Savior. This should be our attitude, for Jesus himself told us that he came to forgive our sins. "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32). And God is always ready to forgive and justify those who come to him with this attitude of humility, begging his forgiveness. "I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance" (Luke 15:7).

God tells us that he will always hear our prayers that we pour out to him in our need, especially in our need for forgiveness and justification. "For the Lord is the judge, and with him is no partiality. He will not show partiality in the case of a poor man; and he will listen to the prayer of one who is wronged. He will not ignore the supplication of the fatherless, nor the widow when she pours out her story" (Sir. 35:12-14).

God will hear us if we come to him humbly, confessing our sins and begging his mercy and forgiveness, as does the tax collector today. It was to help us in this that Jesus Christ came into the world and died on the cross, taking upon himself God's just punishment for our sins and suffering it instead of us, so that we might be free from this punishment and justly forgiven for our sins, for Christ served their just sentence for us who believe in him. Thus we are justified by God, declared and made righteous, through our faith in Christ, because of his death on the cross.

We enter into life at birth alienated from God because of the sin of Adam. But the Father sent his Son into the world to die to propitiate divine justice for this sin and for all our personal sins as well. His death satisfied God's justice on our behalf on account of our sins, for it made reparation for them, thus placating God's wrath against us because of our sins (Rom. 1:18; 5:9). Thus our sins are expiated in his death for those who believe in him. What Adam lost, Christ restored for those who believe in him. "Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous" (Rom. 5:18-19).

Today we thank God for this great gift of the forgiveness of our sins and justification that he gave us in his Son Jesus Christ if only we come to him with faith. It is this gift of forgiveness and justification that makes us resplendent with the very righteousness of Christ himself shining within us. Christ's one righteous act on the cross has undone all the evil that Adam's sin and all our sins have caused. It has justified us, because he paid our debt of death that our sins deserved (Rom. 6:23), and so set us free, forgiven and justified, to live a new life in Christ.


» 2020-2021 Year B English
» 2019-2020 Year A English
» 2018-2019 Year C English
» 2017-2018 Year B English
» 2016-2017 Year A English
» 2015-2016 Year C English
» 2014-2015 Year B English
» 2013-2014 Year A English
» 2012-2013 Year C English
» 2011-2012 Year B English
» 2010-2011 Year A English
» 2009-2010 Year C English
» 2008 - 2009 Year B English
To receive my current daily Biblical sermons by email
Subscribe to DailyBiblicalSermons Free:
Enter Your Email Below and Click Subscribe

See my books!

Desert Living

Desert Living

Desert Living

All books are available and searchable on Amazon and Kindle.

Daily Biblical Sermons
© Copyright 2007-2009 Rev. Steven Scherrer, www.DailyBiblicalSermons.com. All are welcome to use the materials on this site, either via spoken or written form. However, if used in written form or retransmitted via internet or email, please INCLUDE the above copyright indication. Thank you.