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Luke 18:14

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Went down to his house justified - His sin blotted out; and himself accepted.

Rather than the other - Η εκεινος : that is, the other was not accepted, because he exalted himself - he made use of the mercies which he acknowledged he owed to God, to make claims on the Divine approbation, and to monopolize the salvation of the Most High! He was abased, because he vainly trusted that he was righteous, and depended on what he had been enabled to do, and looked not for a change of heart, nor for reconciliation to God. It is a strange perversion of the human mind, to attempt to make God our debtor by the very blessings which his mere mercy has conferred upon us! It was a maxim among the Jews, that whoever brought a sacrifice to the temple returned justified. But our Lord shows that this depended on the state of mind - if they were not humbled under a sense of sin, they were not justified, though they had even offered a sacrifice.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I tell you - The Pharisees would have said that the first man here was approved. Jesus assures them that they judged erroneously. God judges of this differently from people.

Justified - Accepted or approved of God. The word “justify” means to declare or treat as righteous. In this case it means that in their prayers the one was approved and the other not; the one went down with the favor of God in answer to his petitions, the other not.

For every one … - See the notes at Luke 14:11.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
This parable was to convince some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. God sees with what disposition and design we come to him in holy ordinances. What the Pharisee said, shows that he trusted to himself that he was righteous. We may suppose he was free from gross and scandalous sins. All this was very well and commendable. Miserable is the condition of those who come short of the righteousness of this Pharisee, yet he was not accepted; and why not? He went up to the temple to pray, but was full of himself and his own goodness; the favour and grace of God he did not think worth asking. Let us beware of presenting proud devotions to the Lord, and of despising others. The publican's address to God was full of humility, and of repentance for sin, and desire toward God. His prayer was short, but to the purpose; God be merciful to me a sinner. Blessed be God, that we have this short prayer upon record, as an answered prayer; and that we are sure that he who prayed it, went to his house justified; for so shall we be, if we pray it, as he did, through Jesus Christ. He owned himself a sinner by nature, by practice, guilty before God. He had no dependence but upon the mercy of God; upon that alone he relied. And God's glory is to resist the proud, and give grace to the humble. Justification is of God in Christ; therefore the self-condemned, and not the self-righteous, are justified before God.
Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 69.4

Let all remember that the mysteries of God's kingdom cannot be learned by reasoning. True faith, true prayer—how strong they are! The prayer of the Pharisee had no value, but the prayer of the publican was heard in the courts above, because it showed dependence reaching forth to lay hold of Omnipotence. Self was to the publican nothing but shame. Thus it must be with all who seek God. Faith and prayer are the two arms which the needy suppliant lays upon the neck of infinite Love.... HP 69.4

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 134.3

God Works to Humble Human Pride—There is no position so lofty that God cannot cut down those occupying it. There is no humiliation so great that God cannot raise up humble men to enjoy the richest blessings. The Lord works to humble human pride in whomever it is found, that men may learn to develop a spirit of true submission to His will. He cannot work with men who counteract His purposes. Those who use their perceptive powers to create an order of things which turns aside God's purposes will lose the powers, which if exercised aright would have increased and strengthened. God honors those who seek Him in sincerity, humbling self and exalting Him. But when men will not consent to walk in the counsel of God, their wisdom is removed from them. They become incapable of knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.—Letter 35, 1900. PM 134.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 311.2

We need more to be shut in the audience with God. There is need of guarding our own thoughts. We are surely living amid the perils of the last days. We must walk before God meekly, with deep humility; for it is only such that will be exalted. 3SM 311.2

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 193.3

The Lord sees, the Lord knows. He will certainly humble all such aspirations; for He hates pride and selfishness and covetousness. The more prosperous the work may be in itself, the less appropriate is it for men to exalt themselves, as though they were the ones who should be lifted up. Our trust must be in God. He has entrusted men with abilities and capabilities, that they may act a prominent part in His work. Let them take heed how they shall exalt themselves.... TDG 193.3

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