I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.
The Lord Lifts Up the Lowly
“The Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering” (Gen 4:1-15). For unlike Abel, Cain’s offering did not proceed from a heart that revered and trusted in the Lord. Thus, the lowly tax collector who prayed, “God be merciful to me, sinner!” was the one who went down to his house justified before God, not the respectable, outwardly righteous Pharisee who trusted in himself and his own good living (Luke 18:9-14). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph 2:1-10). The one who penitently despairs of his own righteousness and relies completely on the atoning mercy of God in Christ is the one who is declared righteous. For Christ died for our sins and rose again the third day (1 Cor 15:1-10). Therefore, “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”