(Article for publication week of 7-31- AD 2014)
"And he said unto the woman, ' thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace' " (Luke 7:50). (The reader is encouraged to read Luke 7:36-50 for the whole account.)
Here we have a notable example of saving faith. Here was woman who was a great sinner, but she came into saving contact with the Great Saviour! She loved the Saviour much, for she was forgiven much.
The thing I want you to see is that this woman who received forgiveness of sins did not utter a word. She didn't repeat a prayer. She simply stooped and washed the Saviour's feet and wiped them with the hairs of her head. She apparently felt her guilt so much that she would not even face the Dear Saviour, but stood behind him weeping. But the Lord declared her sins were forgiven and told her to go in peace.
We see in this lesson that saving faith is always accompanied by a great sense of one's guilt before God. Simon the Pharisee, in whose house this event took place, did not feel himself to be a sinner. And so our Lord exposed him with a parable of a certain creditor who frankly forgave two creditors. One owed a very small debt, the other a very large one. Jesus then asked the Pharisee which of these debtors would love his creditor most. The obvious answer is the one who was forgiven most. So the Pharisee was exposed as one who did not see that he owed God a great debt. If he considered himself a sinner at all, he still deemed himself a pretty good person. However, this woman who anointed the Saviour's head with ointment and stooped to wash his feet with her tears and wipe them with the hairs of her head knew her sins were many. And so it is with every child of grace. Every child of God is brought to the place that he sees himself as the worst of sinners. Dear Reader, do you see yourself as a fifty pence sinner, or a five hundred pence sinner? Mark it well, if you still think yourself to be a pretty good person, you're are not even a candidate for salvation, much less in possession of salvation. But to you who can put yourself in this poor woman's place as a great sinner, there is hope for you in the Great Saviour.
Now let me give a cordial to the broken-hearted sinner who feels himself too sinful for Christ to save and too ignorant to know what to say in prayer to the Saviour. Note again that this dear saint did not say a word. She simply lay at the Saviour's feet weeping and mourning her lost condition. There is no account in the scriptures of any prescribed prayer that sinner must say to receive forgiveness of sins. Nor has the Lord authorised the church to invent one. But you may believe in the dear Saviour today by simply lying at His feet weeping and waiting for that precious announcement from the Lord Himself, "thy sins are forgiven, go in peace." Heed not those false prophets who claim they can grant you forgiveness of sins, but go to the Saviour in faith and wait for Him to pronounce your sins absolved. I pray that some poor weeping sinner may find that precious peace today.