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Penitence and Pardon

Gospel of Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Proverbs 28:13 ESV
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
Luke 18:9–14 ESV
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 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 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Penitence is Perceived

Standing far off - In this time of prayer, the tax collector keeps his distance. He does not presume that he is welcome in the presence of God.
Would not even lift his eyes to heaven - He does not approach prayer in the customary manner, but keeps his eyes fixed in a downward direction.
Beat his breast - The striking of the chest was an act of contrition. The righteous beat their heart because it is the source of evil longings.
God, be merciful to me - He is pleading with God to do something for him that he knows he cannot accomplish for himself. He it literally asking God to make an atonement for him. He is appealing to the character of God because of the character of God. God is holy and righteous, but he is also merciful and gracious. It is the holiness of God that bring the sinner terror, but the mercy of God that brings the sinner hope.
Psalm 116:5 ESV
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.
Why does he need mercy?
A sinner - This could be translated “the sinner”. John MacArthur writes, “This is an unequivocal confession of his extreme and supreme sinfulness and there’s no comparing him with others. He is the worst sinner. And that is a legitimate response because of all the sinners in the world he knows himself to be the worst because no sinner knows so much about himself as the individual himself. He knows about other sinners, but he knows his own heart better that he knows anybody else. He is the worst sinner in the world, as far as his personal concerned.”
Galatians 3:10 ESV
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
Galatians 3:10

Penitence is Powerful

Penitence - Contrition, Remorse, Repentance - A regret for sin or wrongdoing. Implies sad and humble realization of and regret for one’s misdeeds. Also, included is the resolve to change.
A regret for sin or wrongdoing. Implies sad and humble realization of and regret for one’s misdeeds. Also, included is the resolve to change.
We can see in parable that the tax collector is powerfully impacted by sin in relationship to God. His relationship with God is giving him a new relationship with sin.
Thomas Watson, “Repentance is a grace of God whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly transformed.” He lists six ingredients of true repentance. We will briefly investigate these now.
He lists six ingredients of true repentance. We will briefly investigate these now.
Sight of Sin - Before a man can come to Christ he must come to himself. A man must recognize and consider what sin is, and know the plague of his heart before he can be duly humbled for it. Sin must first be seen before it can be wept for.
Sorrow for Sin - A true penitent labours to work his heart into a sorrowing frame. This sorrow for sin is not superficial: It is holy agony.
Confession of Sin - Confession is self-accusing. When we come before God, we must accuse ourselves.
Shame for Sin - Repentance causes a holy bashfulness. We saw this earlier when the tax collector would not look up to heaven nor come close in the temple.
Hatred of Sin - This is the loathing of abominations. The penitent one is a sin-loather. Christ is never loved until sin be loathed.
Turning from Sin - Reformation is left last to bring up the rear of repentance. This turning from sin is a forsaking of sin. Dying to sin is the life of repentance.

Penitence Leads to Pardon

I tell you - Jesus emphasizes that factual reality of the statement he was about to make.
This man went down to his house justified - The tax collector, who was an outcast to the nation and an outcast to God is the one who is declared “not guilty”
What is the basis of this justification? How can anyone be pardoned from their sin and guilt?
Romans 3:21–26 ESV
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Galatians 3:11–14 ESV
Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
Galatians 3:11

Penitence is Perpetual

But the one who humbles himself will be exalted - The language here conveys that the one who humbles himself continues to bring himself low. Humbling oneself before God is the perpetual, ongoing activity of those who are made right with God.
Therefore, what we have seen in the parable in regards to the tax collector is in essence to continue throughout the Christian life. The Christian life is a life of penitence and repentance. It is is life of humbling oneself before God to seek his mercy through Jesus Christ.
Colossians 2:8 ESV
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Colossians 2:9 ESV
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
Colossians 2:11 ESV
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
Colossians 2:6–7 ESV
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:10 ESV
and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

Practical Application

Practical Application

The penitent are constantly confessing that they cannot do anything to save themselves.
The penitent are constantly abandoning relating to God by what they have or have not done.
The penitent are constantly rejecting the tendency to absorbed with self.
The penitent are constantly learning not to trust in mean are as the basis of righteousness and/or favor.
The penitent are constantly seeking not to judge others in a harsh, critical manner.
The penitent are constantly quick to take responsibility for their sin.
The penitent are constantly praying to God and pleading for mercy in Christ Jesus.
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