ESV - 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.
For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
I think Jesus knew the prostitute would be saved...and He knew her heart was a good heart, and the publicans would NEVER have the urge to be saved because of their pride.
The thing to know and remember is that we don't "get saved," we are chosen by God to be born of His Spirit unto everlasting life. We can't choose that for ourselves.
The reason I know this is because it happened to me. God came and found me where I was. It scared me really bad. I won't go into details, it never goes over well. I made the mistake years ago of trying to elaborate on what I went through and how it all played out. BIG MISTAKE!!
But it wasn't my idea. I'd been raised by a pastor and mother in a great home and all. It all seemed like just "religion" to me. It was a good way to live, but I thought that was all there was to it.
I was wrong! God chooses some of us to know Him intimately and to live with Him for everlasting bliss! Praise the Lord!!
There are many who go through the motions of trying to serve God in some way out of fear. Who can blame them?! To be told there's a pit burning that never goes out, and if you don't worship Him you'll spend what is called eternity (whatever that is) in that pit, will make any cautious person take notice.
Regardless of that, there's only one way to be redeemed by God; it is to be chosen by God. Jesus told His disciples, "You didn't choose Me, I chose you" (Jn 15:16).
God chose Noah. He chose Abraham. God picked David. God called all the prophets from another life they were living. The only exception is Samuel, dedicated to God by His mother. My point: Samuel wasn't the one who did the choosing. No one does.
God chose Moses. He went to the back side of the desert in Midian and got Moses. Gave him a job that NO MAN would choose for himself.
God went to Samson's parents before Samson was born and told them He had chosen Samson for a big job; to begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines.
God not only picked David to be king, He picked his predecessor Saul, who made a mess of things. He chooses for His own purposes. He said He raised the Pharaoh of Egypt up for the purpose of using him the way he did.
If a prostitute "gets saved" it's because that prostitute was chosen by God for eternal life LONG BEFORE becoming a prostitute.
This is the gospel. God is worthy to be praised! God doesn't put salvation and death on the shelf and say, 'Here it is, you have a choice. Take your time and choose wisely.'
How? We don't have any wisdom!! If you lack wisdom ask of God who gives to all generously... (James 1:5) It all starts with Him.
Joshua told Israel, who was trying to figure out how to make it in life, "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose whom you will serve: whether the gods (idols) which your fathers served which were beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living." (Joshua 24:15).
But he said his family would serve the LORD. Joshua was chosen by God to succeed Moses, as were the people he was preaching to were chosen to be God's chosen people.
Nobody comes to God on their own accord. We might as well admit it!!
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. The GIFT of God is eternal life.
If a prostitute received the free gift of eternal life, then what does she have? Eternal life. John 3:18. Believers are no longer condemn to hell. Does our salvation depend on what we do or do not do or what Jesus did for us?
We are all sinners. First John 1:8 and First John 1:10. Jesus died for sinners.
John 3:16. God hates our sin, but He loves sinners. First John 2:2.
First John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God, (John 1:12) that ye may KNOW YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.
Romans 11:6. Romans 3:23. Romans 3:9-10.
One lie would send us to hell forever. Jesus paid the debt and set us free. Our sin debt is paid in full, and we can no longer be condemned to hell. John 3:18.
John 3:16. God loves sinners. He hates our sin, but He loves us so much that HE went to the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world so that anyone who would accept His free Gift of eternal life would be saved. Romans 6:23. First John 2:2. First John 1:8. If we say we have no sin, we are deceived and the truth is not in us. If we say we have not sinned, we call God a liar. John 6:47. John 6:40 and John 6:29.
The Pharisees would not repent of their unbelief and were not saved. Jesus said, their would be prostitutes in heaven before them.
The Prostitute repented. She changed her mind and trusted Jesus for the free gift of eternal life.
Repentance for salvation is to go from unbelief to belief. It is the Greek word metanoia. It simply means to change your mind.
That is the reason we go into all the world and preach the gospel.
First Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us who are saved, it is the POWER of God.
First Corinthians 1:21 For after that, by the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
First John 2:2 And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.
Romans 1:16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the POWER of God unto salvation to EVERYONE THAT believeth, to the Jew First, and also to the Greek.
John 6:40. IT is Gods will that everyone believe the gospel and be saved. John 6:47. First Timothy 2:4. Second Peter 3:9.
The GIFT of God is eternal life. Not faith. Ephesians 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after ye heard the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also AFTER ye believed, ye were sealed by that Holy Spirit of promise.
I was not elected to special service by God. I got saved because I believed on Him alone apart from any works for the free gift of eternal life. John 3:16-18 First John 5:13.
John 12:32. God calls all men to be saved. Romans 11:29 For the GIFTS and calling of God are without repentance. Irrevocable, can not be changed back. But only those who believe it of their own free will are saved. John 1:12. First John 2:2.
John 6:40 And this is the will of Him who sent me.