I am a debtor — Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.— The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men… or even like this tax collector. I… ‘ 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 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.— Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus —This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. —Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.— So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’— It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning…
Rom.1:14; Lk. 13:4-5 ESV; Lk. 18:11-14 ESV; Mt. 9:13 NLT; Rev. 3:17 ESV; Acts 3:19-20 ESV; Is. 30:15 NIV; Mt.5:3; I Tim.1:15 NIV; Lk. 17:10 ESV; Lam. 3:22-23 ESV
When tragedy strikes close by but leaves me intact, it is easy to suppose that I have been spared by virtue of some superior worthiness in myself. My initial shock and sympathy can become a mere facade hiding my silent judgments: ‘he had it coming… I’m sure glad I…’ [fill in whatever habits you are proud of or vices you piously shun]. But Jesus makes it clear that we are all debtors to mercy. Humility is the virtue that most becomes our state. Do we ever pay down this debt? Do we ever outgrow our need for repentance and mercy? Not if we are growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The more we see Him as He is, the more we will know ourselves to be unworthy of His mercies. Yet they remain, morning by morning, a fitting lifesong!