And he said unto them,
You are they who justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Read Chapter 16
Cornelius a Lapide
And He said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men, i.e. make outwardly a show of justice, whereas God knoweth your hearts to be full of all uncleanness. For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Your pretended zeal for the service of God, which is held in admiration of the common people, is hateful to Him who seeth the foulness and corruption of your hearts. For my explanation of verses16 to19 , see S. Matthew 11:12; Matthew 5:18; and Matthew 19:9.
And the Lord, in His Gospel, blames and condemns men of that kind, saying, "Ye are they which justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight Of God."
Let us see the cause of their wickedness. The passion of greed possessed and tyrannized their heart. Their mind was in subjection even against its will. It was humbled under the power of wickedness and bound as it were by inevitable bonds…. The Savior of all spoke many things to them but saw that they would not change from their crafty purposes and passions. They preferred rather to abide in their innate folly. He began to correct them sternly, calling them by the very occasion. He shows that they are hypocrites and liars in wait among the altars. They are eager for the glory due to righteous and good people, but in reality, they are not like these. They are not eager to receive the approval of God. Commentary on Luke, Homily
Who justify yourselves But our Lord, detecting their hidden malice, shows that their pretended justice is all hypocrisy. (Theophylactus)
But God knoweth They justify themselves before men, whom they look upon as despicable, and abandoned sinners, and esteem themselves as not standing in need of giving alms as a remedy of sin; but he who shall lay open the secrets of hearts, sees the base atrocity of that pride which thus blinds them, and swells within their breasts. (Ven. Bede)
Yes, all those exterior actions which appeared great, and which were admired by men, being vitiated with improper motives and sinister designs, are an abomination in the sight of God. (Haydock)
From the very thing which is in question. But when the Pharisees "justified themselves before men".
When He strikes at pride in the words: "That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God".
God is the inspector of the heart."