Grace is Sweet

They thought they were righteous. They loved the best seats wherever they went and coveted the praise and adulation of others (Luke 11:43). However, “they”—the Pharisees—were described by Jesus as hypocrites (v. 44):

HYPOCRITE- feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not really believe; esp. the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.

Luke 11: 36-50 describes an incident in which Jesus was eating at the house of a Pharisee when a sinful woman of the city began to wash His feet with her tears, while wiping them with her hair. Not surprisingly, the Pharisee who had invited Jesus into his home, judged Him in his heart for allowing such a sinner to touch Him; but Jesus—knowing the Pharisee’s thoughts—told him that while he had not offered any true hospitality, the woman had not ceased to honor Him. Furthermore, He explained:

One could assume that the Pharisee was unloving toward Jesus because he did not need the measure of forgiveness that such a sinful woman required. Perhaps we could interpret Jesus’ comment to mean that the more sinful someone is, the more sins there are to be forgiven; and so, the more such a person will love the Lord when He forgives them. Yet, it is likely from Jesus’ description of the Pharisees that they indeed had many sins that needed forgiveness. Could it be that the woman of the city recognized her sinfulness with humility and gratitude, while the Pharisee failed to comprehend his desperate need of the Savior’s forgiveness?

It follows that as we examine ourselves, recognize our sinfulness, and confess our sins, we will grow in our gratitude and love toward Jesus. As Dr. Erwin Lutzer put it:

“Grace is not sweet until sin has become bitter.”