Why would such sinners enter the Kingdom and the Pharisees be left out? The Pharisees were very religious men who went to the Temple, prayed and paid tithes; they had fast days and feast days, and kept the Sabbath.
Why would Pharisees go to hell, and harlots go to heaven? Because the harlots received God’s gift, and the Pharisees would not. Instead, they sought to secure their salvation by their own works of righteousness. The Divine Way to eternal life stood right before them, but they chose to take their own path.
Romans 10:3 includes the phrase “submitted to the righteousness of God”. It refers to accepting God’s gift of salvation that comes only through faith in Christ Jesus.
For many of us it is difficult to “submit” to anything. Something within us rebels against any kind of authority -even that of a wise and loving God.
A GIFT GOD PAID FOR – IN FULL!
There is a beautiful story in the Old Testament that clearly illustrates God’s Father-heart of love. In this story, God reveals Himself not only as a Father-Creator, but also as a Father-Redeemer.
Isaiah the prophet saw this two fold revelation of God’s character: “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine”‘ (Isa 43:1).
The God Who creates also redeems to buy and bring man back into God’s purpose would cost the father the life of His only Son. His life was given -as a sacrificial lamb -to buy us back -to redeem us.
ABRAHAM AND ISAAC: A PROPHETIC PICTURE OF REDEEMING LOVE
“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’
“And He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’ “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
“Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar of.
“And Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.’
”So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.
“But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ And he said, ‘Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?'” (Gen 22:1-7).