February 20, 2017

Mercy for Me, a Sinner

Psalm 51:1-9

The tax collector . . . beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

—  Luke 18:13

Sometimes people who come to faith in Christ as adults are reluctant to join a church, because they feel that everyone else there has got their act together and is virtually perfect.

The truth, though, is that every one of us is often like the tax collector in Jesus’ parable—a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness and grace. That’s why Psalm 51 rings so true in our hearts and minds. It also helps us remember that even the great King David of Israel, who wrote this psalm, was no better than any of us—even though he was called “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; 16:1-13).

If we already belong to a church, we must also be careful not to act like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable, looking down our noses at others whom we think of as sinners—for we have all “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:9).

Anyone who comes to the Lord, confessing their sins and recognizing Jesus as the only Savior, is justified by God. And the church of Christ is not a place where people have it all together; it’s simply a community of sinners saved by grace.

Have you experienced God’s mercy? If so, go and share that good news with others so that they can experience it too!

Lord, thank you for the assurance that we are saved by your grace. Thank you for accepting us as we are, and for forgiving us in Jesus’ name. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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