January 21, 2012
- By Ed Powell
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"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. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found." Luke 15:22-24
One of the most beautiful accounts of the "unconditional love of God" is revealed in the story of the prodigal son and his return to his father. I never read this without being strongly moved in my spirit by the love and grace of the father in receiving his son back home again. Why did the son leave such a place of security and love?
Basically, he did not want to submit his will to the authority of his father, regardless of how loving and beneficent the father might have been. The "lure of sin," the urge to be independent, and the gratification of his lust for the pleasures of the world beguiled him. He thought that without restraint he would be free to order the course of his life. The chords of deceitfulness, initiated by Satan, entangled him. You are familiar with the awful consequences of his choice, but let me highlight a few of them:
--Choosing not to be ruled by God, he is compelled to serve Satan.
--Refusing to feed on the Bread of Life, he feeds on husks fed to the swine.
--Aspiring for the world to serve him, he becomes the slave of its bondage.
--Leaving a house of love, he dwells in the land of sin, hate, and rebellion.
Then, we read, "He came to himself." What do you think that means? Much could be said here, but let me say that he saw the wretchedness of his life and the consequences of his choice. Notice carefully that He realized first and foremost that he had sinned against God! He recognized his unworthiness and was willing to "accept" the grace of his father. This is the core of his repentance.
Now let's look at the father. Was the father surprised by the son's return? No. I'm sure that every day the father looked down that empty road. But one day, HE SAW HIS SON! Can you imagine how he must have felt? And what was the father's attitude? Revenge, retaliation, reprimands?
No, it was nothing short of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, a heart of forgiveness, grace, mercy, and restoration! "Get the best robe, a ring, shoes, the fatted calf. My son has returned; he was lost but now is found!" There was great joy, and full and free pardon. Once again the son was given a seat at the father's table! How beautifully this scene resembles the fathomless love of God.
The depth of our sin, the wretchedness of our life, the extreme rebellion of our heart, when confronted and confessed to HIM whom we have sinned against, only reveals the magnitude of God's unconditional love and grace. Deserving only His righteous judgment, He is ever standing with His arms spread wide, ready, willing, and anxious to receive, forgive, and reconcile us to the Father.
We are fully restored, accepted in the Beloved, and given a seat at the FATHER'S TABLE! Oh the grace that is greater than all our sin. "Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace....grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt....freely bestowed on all who believe."
Have you experienced His matchless grace? Oh to know the joy and peace of resting in the arms of grace of our loving Lord.
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?row=21&date=2012-01-21
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