31. WHO IS RIGHTEOUS? (Luke 18:9-14)

BACKGROUND: The parable of the Pharisee and the publican in the temple is Jesus' primary teaching on the doctrine of justification. This doctrine answers the question: How can we become right with God and get into heaven? Notice that at the time of Jesus the word Pharisee did not bring to people's minds a self-righteous hypocrite, but a person who truly believed and feared God. The Pharisees were also on the side of the poor, and therefore they were popular among the people. The publicans, on the other hand, were traitors to the fatherland, and exploited the poor.
  1. What indicates that both of these men believed in God?
    • For the Jews, the temple was the place of atonement and the place where they could meet God. Discuss: for what reason did the Pharisee of our text go to the temple?
    • For what reason did this publican enter the temple?
  2. What was the Pharisee thankful for - see his prayer.
    • Why didn't the Pharisee refer in his prayer to anything God had done for him?
    • What was the Pharisee's doctrine of justification? (See Note above.)
  3. When, if ever, did you pray like the publican in this parable? (You can answer in your heart.)
    • The Greek verb in the publican's prayer conveys the following meaning: "God, be merciful to me because of the sacrifice offered to you in this temple." What was the publican's doctrine of justification?
  4. In what ways might we resemble the Pharisee in this parable?
    • What were the sins of the Pharisee toward God and toward his neighbor?
    • Why wasn't the Pharisee aware of even one of his own sins?
  5. The Pharisee's faith was much stronger than that of the publican. Why is it that false faith is often stronger than true faith?
  6. Who knew which one of these two was righteous when they left the temple? (Keep to the text!)
    • Why didn't Jesus end his parable by saying: "And after that the publican compensated those from whom he had cheated money, and changed into a respectable person"?
  7. The publican had probably ruined the lives of many people. What happened to the punishment he should have received from God because of his sins?
  8. What is the role of the one being justified in justification?
    • What is God's part in justification?
    • What is the role of sacrifice in justification?
GLAD TIDINGS: The sacrifice offered in the temple was the prototype of Jesus' death. In fact, the publican asked for forgiveness on the basis of Jesus' sacrifice. His sins were imputed (attributed) to Jesus, while the righteousness of Jesus was imputed (attributed) to him.

2012 Glad Tidings Bible Studies - www.gladtidings-bs.com