Garland gives simple message to students

March 2, 2011

PLAINVIEW – Dr. David Garland’s message was simple: We are all saved by grace.

The featured guest at Wayland Baptist University’s Willson Lectures, Dr. Garland is the Dean of Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. He spoke to students at Wednesday’s chapel service, taking a new look at a familiar parable. Reading from Luke 18, Garland told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying at the temple. As the Pharisee thanked God for not making him like other men, the tax collector asked for forgiveness and mercy.

Garland challenged student to take another look at the parable, saying it is about more than being humble. The Pharisee is depicted as self-righteous and as seeing himself as better than the other man.

“The truth is, we are all like the Pharisee,” Garland said.

Garland gave examples of how people make snap judgments about others every day based on nothing more than looks, and how many times, these judgments are misguided. He also pointed out that the tax collector is doing more than asking for forgiveness. In the original Greek manuscripts, he is asking if there is some way that he can pay restitution for his sins. For Jesus to end his parable by saying the tax collector rather than the Pharisee was justified would have been scandalous to the people of his day.

“God’s grace is always scandalous. It comes to us without distinction,” he said. “We are all sinners, standing in the need of prayer, saved only by God’s grace.”