“God, I thank You that I’m not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.” Luke 18:11-12
Many please and satisfy themselves with mere civility and common morality. They bless themselves that they are not swearers, nor drunkards, nor extortioners, nor adulterers, etc. Their behavior is civil, sincere, harmless, and blameless.
But civility is not sanctity. Civility rested in—is but a beautiful abomination—a smooth way to hell and destruction. Civility is very often . . .
the nurse of impiety,
the mother of flattery, and
an enemy to real sanctity.
There are those who are so blinded with the fair shows of
civility—that they can neither see the necessity nor beauty
of sanctity. There are those who now bless themselves in
their common morality, whom at last God will scorn and
cast off for lack of real holiness and purity.
A moral man may be an utter stranger . . .
to the filthiness of sin,
to the depths and devices of Satan,
to their own hearts,
to the new birth,
to the great concerns of eternity,
to communion with Christ,
to the secret and inward ways and workings of the Spirit.
Well, sirs, remember this—though the moral man is good for many things—yet he is not good enough to go to heaven! He who rises to no higher pitch than civility and morality—shall never have communion with God in glory. The most moral man in the world, may be both Christless and graceless.
Morality is not sufficient to keep a man out of eternal misery. All morality can do, is to help a man to one of the best rooms and easiest beds which hell affords! For, as the moral man’s sins are not so great as others—so his punishments shall not be so great as others. This is all the comfort that can be given to a moral man—that he shall have a cooler hell than others have. But this is but cold comfort. Morality without piety is as a body without a soul. Will God ever accept of such a stinking sacrifice? Surely not!
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.” Luke 18:13-14