When this man went down to his house, he was reconciled with God, but not the other. Luke 18:14

Jesus told a parable regarding own righteousness. Two men went up to the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisees were very determined to fulfill God’s law and they fasted often and did many works of mercy. Unfortunately, they no longer needed God’s mercy because their good deeds forced him to reward them. The Pharisee stood by himself and thanked God that he was not like other people, grasping, crooked, adulterous, or even like this tax collector. He fasted twice a week and use to give the tenth of all his income to the temple. In the meantime the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast begging for God’s mercy for his sin and forgiveness.

The Bible calls righteous those who are pleasing to God because they do his will. In many places in Scripture a great deal of importance is placed on externals : the just one is the one who fulfills the law; elsewhere the Bible singles out the inner faithfulness of the righteous one, who, like Abraham is a friend of God.

The Publican was in the truth, and God’s grace was with him when he returned home (The text says : He was made righteous, that is to say that God had reconciled him to himself). But the Pharisee left just as he had come, locked up in his own self-sufficiency and closed to the grace of God.

Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life.