"God, have mercy on me, a sinner!" Luke 18:13
How often is this our prayer? How frequently is this our feeling? Jesus tells this parable to people who were feeling self-assured in their own right standing before God. The simple truth of this story is that we must recall our natural state before God and rely on his grace and mercy to be in fellowship with him. If we carry on with the understanding that we can trust in ourselves for right standing with God, then we are proceeding through our lives in delusion and genuine misunderstanding of our need for a Saviour. It is only when we realize our true need that we can come to God in humility and trust Jesus for our right standing with God.