- The Pharisee stands by himself to keep himself clean. The tax collector stands by himself because he considers himself unworthy to approach the temple.
- The Pharisee prayers the prayer of the “religiously superior.” By contrast the tax collector begs for his sins to be covered.
- The Pharisee counts on his ability to keep the law while the tax collector counts on the mercy of God.
- The Pharisee went home as empty as he came. The tax collector went home justified.
- Paul sounds the same warning in Colossians 3: Don’t trust in your law-keeping; trust in the blood of Christ and the hope of the gospel. Then you’ll see real change.
The Colossians have been listening to false teachers who insist keeping a set of rituals is required to be pleasing to God. In response, Paul has mounted a 2-prong attack:
- He explains that teaching is wrong because rules and rituals only curb outward behavior. They do nothing to change our guilt and sin.
- He insists that the cross of Christ is the only real solution to guilt and sin, because Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin, justifying us and reconciling us with God.
In addition, Paul argues that the gospel changes my lifestyle because the gospel gives me: 1) the right goal, 2) the right perspective and 3) the power to change through the work of the Holy Spirit.
- The first list in 3:5 deals with desire. This second list in 3:8 deals with the way we relate to each other, particularly the things we say.
- The list in 3:5 concerns loving God with all my heart. The list in 3:8 concerns loving my neighbor as myself.
- Outward behavior changes as a results of the produced inside us by the work of the Holy Spirit.
- What is it that is new about the new man? A new true knowledge, a new understanding.
- When it comes to salvation, all of us start with the same problem (sin) and all of us need the same solution (grace through the blood of Jesus).
- God’s love is an active reaching out to do good for us, not warm fuzzy feelings. We are called to show that same kind of self-sacrificing love to others.
- When you are faced with a choice on how to act and how to treat someone, let the peace of Christ cast the deciding vote.
- Let the word of Christ inform everything you do.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.
Study: Colossians Resources
Scripture quotes are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.