Matthew 9:10-13 ESV
And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Our faith is evidenced by a repentant heart. As it is perfected, and as we actively seek God’s will and presence in our lives, as we grow in this restored and personal relationship with God, our lives on the outside will be evidence of this change on the outside.
It is not reluctant obedience to a set of laws and repeated confession that God seeks (sacrifice). But God seeks a change in the heart to repentance that comes from grattitude for this free gift of grace – which results in varying degrees of eagerness and hungery pursuit of Him – as our faith grows and matures.
Both should produce the end result of outward, visible change and reverence to God’s guidance, and self control to not be controlled by sin in our own lives. But one is the change on the inside, cleaning the cup on the inside, doing it willingly and gratefully, and seeing His works and His change come alive in us, while the other is relying on our own works and only washing the outside of the cup. And He expects us to extend the same forgiveness to others that we have received (mercy).