Luke 15:20-24 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.
Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son is something that everyone needs to read often.
For those who might have lost their love for, and devotion to, God in pursuit of ‘happiness’ and ‘fulfilment’ in the things of this world, only to discover that their search has been in vain, there is the wonderful reminder that it is never too late to come back to the seeking, welcoming arms of a loving Father.
For those who have been pressing on in the Lord’s work through great difficulties and are feeling a bit ‘battle weary’, there is the confronting reminder that our relationship with God is not based on how well or hard we have been working for him, but on HIS GRACE ALONE. (To make the same point, Jesus also told a parable about workers who received exactly the same payment whether they had worked in the vineyard for 9 hours through the heat of the day, or only for the last hour in the cool of the evening! – Matthew 20:1-6).
Once we have understood what it really means to be saved BY GRACE ALONE, and NOT by ‘works’, we are then free to join wholeheartedly in the celebratory feast on the ‘fattened calf’, with genuine, heartfelt JOY, that a profligate ‘brother’ has come ‘home’ with a contrite heart, to enjoy ALL the blessings of heaven after living a totally self-serving, dissolute, immoral life. Conversely, if we feel resentment over such seeming lack of ‘fairness’, then, sadly, we have not really understood the pivotal Biblical doctrine of ‘justification by FAITH through GRACE ALONE’ (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Let us always be among those who are “rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over [every] sinner who repents” (10) … or, if necessary, let us BE the ‘sinner who repents’.