Thursday, May 16, 2013

Prodigal Son Graced Because God is Faithful and Just

"31And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found." (Luke 15: 31-32)

Many people will read the parable of the Generous Father (not "Prodigal Son") and wince.
The younger son was a rebellious, incorrigible brat. He demanded his share of the inheritance right away, and then went and wasted his wealth on wanton living.

After months of living in privation and loss, the prodigal son went back to his father, convinced of his indulgent heart, since under the Mosaic law a rebellious child would expect to be executed by stoning for his flagrant disobedience and disrespect to his parents:

"If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear." (Deuteronomy 21: 18-21)

Yet the son believed that the Father's love would be great enough to overlook his rebellious decision to take his inheritance and squander it. Yet even then, the Father's love was beyond what the son could ask or think (Ephesians 3: 20)

Now, many readers will conclude that the Father was neither faithful not just for permitting his son to receive not just everything that he had lost, but to receive even more.

Yet in fact, God the Father is indeed both faithful and just to bless the prodigal son, and all of us in turn, through His Son Jesus Christ:

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1: 9)

When we confess ourselves sinners, completely destitute and lost without Himself, we can receive the gifts of righteousness and grace, which God the Father provided for us at the Cross, through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus:

"8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Romans 5: 8-9)

What is this love, specifically?:

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4: 10)

Jesus called God the Father Abba (Mark 14: 36), yet at the Cross Jesus became sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 21), that we might receive the Spirit of adoption in Christ (Romans 8: 15), that we may call God "Abba".

Just like the prodigal son, we can all come boldly to God (Hebrews 4: 16), knowing that we can receive grace in time of need, because Jesus died the death that we all deserve. He died for us and as us that we may boldly claim:

"17Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. " (1 John 4: 17)

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