“But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to life up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’” (Luke 18:13)

In this verse, mercy, hilaskomai, means to make reconciliation. According to the Key Word Study Bible,  “mercy provides the satisfaction demanded by God’s justice whereby the removal of sins is attained.” Notice where this sinner placed himself in relation to the temple – at a distance.  He was very aware of his unworthiness to enter God’s presence, yet was desperate to be reconnected with God.  This man was crying out, “God, remove my sins! Bring me back into relationship with You!” He not only asked for forgiveness, but for God to completely take away his sins, as if they never happened. Can you relate to that prayer? [Read on]