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Life Sketches Manuscript

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    The Pharisee and the Publican

    Those who claim to be sinless are in the condition of the Pharisee, who boasted of his almsgiving, thanking God that he was not like the publican. The poor publican had no piety or goodness to boast of. But bowed down by grief and shame, he sent up from his stricken soul a longing cry for God's mercy. He dared not even lift up his eyes toward heaven, but beat upon his breast, praying; “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.” The sin—pardoning Redeemer tells us that this man went to his house justified rather than the other.LSMS 122.2

    Those who are whole need not a physician; those who look upon themselves as sinless do not feel a yearning desire for the wisdom, light, and strength of Jesus. They are content with their own attainments, and hear not the blessed words, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” They feel no necessity for growth in grace. They do not feel, as did Paul, that he must keep his body under, lest; after preaching to others, he himself should be a castaway. The apostle declared that he died daily. Every day he battled with temptations and hid himself in Christ. Men who boast of their holiness are far from God. They have not Jesus in their hearts, and do not realize their own unworthiness.LSMS 122.3

    Spurious sanctification leads directly away from the Bible. Those who claim this sanctification reduce religion to a fable, and make feelings and impressions their criterion. They profess to be sinless, and boast of their righteousness, but they teach that men are at liberty to transgress the law of God. A presentation of the claims of the law arouses their opposition and excites their anger and contempt.LSMS 123.1

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