The Pharisee and the Publican

A "rich man... died, and was buried."
He lived and died a Pharisee. His Bible was annotated from beginning to end, but only to prove that he was right and that God was wrong. He did not need a Savior, for he trusted in himself that he was righteous; and like the Pharisee in Luke 18, he was justified in his own eyes, but not in God's.
When this Pharisee was dying, he sent for the minister and chose the text for his own funeral sermon; "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength," adding, "That is what my life has been."
This Pharisee had never seen himself in the presence of God, or He would have known that "that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." Luke 16:1515And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15). "There is none righteous, no, not one." Rom. 3:1010As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10).
Not far from the house in which the body of the rich man was waiting to be carried to the grave, a poor woman, who was a sinner, sat weeping in her cottage. Why was she weeping, do you think? Her life was full of sorrow and need; but that was not now the cause of her tears. She was weeping about her sins, bowed down under the weight of them. She was not a rank sinner in the world's acceptation of the term, for she led a quiet, respectable life. Indeed, some even taunted her with pretending to be better than they. But she knew that in God's sight, the "heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Jer. 17:99The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9).
For many weeks she had scarcely dared lift up her eyes to Him except to cry, like the poor publican, in Luke 18, "God be merciful to me a sinner." She did not know that the Lord Jesus was as near to her as to the woman who was a sinner in Luke 7, to whom He said, "Thy sins are forgiven."
"The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." Psa. 34:1818The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psalm 34:18).
"I'm such a sinner," she said, as I sat down near her. "I seem to grow worse every day."
This had been of late her constant exclamation. We turned to Isaiah 53 and read: "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not."
"That's me," she said.
We read on again until the 6th verse, "All we like sheep have gone astray."
"That's me," she said again.
"We have turned every one to his own way." "That's just like me."
"And the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
"Yes," she said, as if a glimmer of light were dawning on her soul, "but I am the greatest sinner of all."
"Well," I said, "there is a verse in the New Testament that will just suit you," and we turned to 1 Timothy 1:1515This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:15). Eagerly her eyes followed the words: "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."
"Yes," she said, "that's just me! I see it now. Jesus came to save sinners such as me; I thought I must be good first."
"No," I said, "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He died for the ungodly, Romans 5 tells us."
Simply and with joy she now believed the Word and received the Savior. The load was gone, and she was able to thank God for saving her, and for giving His Son to die in her stead.
Friend, you cannot make yourself "fit" to be saved. Your only hope is in receiving Christ and His righteousness—a righteousness which is of God by faith. Will you accept Him now?