Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. Luke 18:10
Jesus taught a parable about 2 men, one a Pharisee (Religious Leader) and the other a Publican (Tax Collector) Now before we get into this story our first assumption or guess is that a Pharisee is greater in Gods eyes rather than a Publican. However as Jesus teaches in this story, God judges and views us from the heart and not our outwardly appearance.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. Luke 18:11-12
The Pharisee loved God but exalted himself too much. He believes his acts make him righteous, however we must understand that none of us are righteous. Even if you got to Church every week, tithe , and sing in the choir, you are a wretched sinner. There is only one who was ever righteous and that is Jesus Christ, because of his works he makes us righteous.
Now you might say, “Why bother doing anything then”? We don’t do things for God to make ourselves righteous, we do things for God because we love him and want to honor him for giving us salvation!
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Luke 18:13
The sinful Publican came to the temple, not with his righteous acts but with a repentful heart. While the Pharisee boasted about his works, the Publican stood before God with fear and remorse of his sinful state. Until you come to true repentance you cant be saved
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Luke 18:14
As Jesus said in the Kingdom, the first will be last and the last will be first! What does that mean? Whoever humbles themselves as a servant for God will be exalted and those who exalt themselves will become lowered.
Pride leads to destruction, humble yourself at the foot of the cross! Repent of your wickedness and you shall be saved in Jesus Christ!