Luke 15:21-24 “And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
The story of the prodigal son is one of my favorites.
I love it because it reveals God the Father’s character with regards to my sin and how He views it.
We see those who sin against us on certain levels.
Vengeance – Because we were hurt, we want them to hurt.
Justice – If we do not choose to take our own version of justice out on them, I will turn them over to the authorities and they exact legal justice.
Mercy – We recognize them as we might be had we been in their shoes and forgive them – releasing them from our sense of justice and allowing them to go free.
Grace – Not only do we show mercy, but we go out of our way to give them friendship, fellowship, and discipleship – that which they do not deserve.
The Father chose grace for his son. My Heavenly Father chooses to give me grace.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
The pain, the punishment and the penalty of my sin was laid upon His Son. He chose this ultimate act of love toward us because My Heavenly Father values the relationshp more than justice. That does not make Him soft or any less just. God has and is perfect justice. That is what Jesus took upon himself.
The prodigal’s father received him back after what he knew to be wild, wicked, sinful living. Not one time did he ever ask what happened to the money. Not one time did he berate him for what he did. Not one time was it mentioned that he made him to feel shame over how he had been hurt over his bad decision.
The significance of what happened when he returned cannot and should not be overlooked.
The father ran to him when he saw him returning. His prayer expected an answer of his son returning. He waited daily for his son to come home. His eyes longed to see him. He envisioned those first words, that first embrace, receiving him back where he belonged.
Then he saw him, ran to him and embraced him!
Then the father said; “Bring forth the best robe and put it on him…” signifying I am covering you with the best this family has to offer.
He said; “put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet…” The ring signifies that he has been and will always be the father’s son. Shoes that his feet can walk among the family as one of them again.
Then, he says “And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:…”. God shows us that repentance of sin – turning from sin to God – is worthy of celebration; not shame, punishment and scorn. Sin has a built in payment system. God says:
Galatians 6:7-8 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
Sin and its punishment and penalty are only eternal when we reject Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. As a born-again, bible believing child of God, I will not and cannot take any sin or the effects of sin with me to Heaven. That was laid upon Jesus.
I will suffer its effects here on this earth. But again, it reveals God’s value of His relationship with us. Once a child of God, it is all about the relationship.
So today, how is your Father- son or Father- daughter relationship?
Is it close? Is it fresh?
Is there two-way communication? He has promised that when we speak, He listens. But when He speaks, do we listen? And if we listen, do we hear and obey?
The depth of our relationship with the Father can go as deep or as shallow as we take it. God gave us the free will to make that choice. He shows Himself to be faithful, loving, forgiving, merciful, kind; full of grace and truth.
When shown such love, such mercy and grace; I cannot help but come closer to the One who loves me that unconditionally and try to do the same!