Dear Precious Friends,
On this beautiful new day, this gift from God, we are on the 15th day Challenge of our read a Chapter a day of Luke.
Once again the challenge is to find only one area to focus on.
The parable of the prodigal son is the focus for today. It is connected to a section that contrasts the rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that cries out to God for the forgiveness of sin, with the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees of Christ's day who trusted in their own righteousness and were blinded to the reality of their sins. Both the prodigals and the Pharisees grieved their Heavenly Father, and both were in need of His gracious forgiveness.
In the parable, we read the distressing story of a certain man who had two sons. The younger was disobedient, irresponsible, extravagant and even managed to extract the portion of his father's estate that would, one day, have become his inheritance, while the older son is a rather self-righteous, judge mental man.
The parable presents us with a beautiful picture of God as our Heavenly Father and His gracious attitude towards each one of his errant and sinful children, with our own individual self-centered motives.
The verse brings us to a critical moment when the younger son finally recognized his own foolish behavior, which brought him to a point of desperation. Having fallen from being a wealthy, globe-trotting heir, to becoming a pitiful, homeless beggar, the son decided to return home in the hopes of receiving a little assistance from the father whom he had treated so horribly.
We read in this verse that the son said to his father: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; and am no longer worthy to be called your son." Indeed, he planned to continue by pleading to be allowed to work as a hired servant in his father's household so that he would have food on the table and a little place to sleep.
What is so amazing, is that the son recognized his own fault and foolishness. He realized how insulting his behavior had been towards his family , but he had to reach that point of total desperation before coming to his senses. And so we read that he rehearsed his apologetic speech, returned home, and started to confess his faults to his dad - who we discover immediately forgives him and welcomes him back into the family where he left off.
Each of us who have been saved by grace through faith in Christ and have become a member of God's family, have some incredible privileges ... one of which is fellowship with the Father. But once we have been saved, there are lessons as children of God we need to learn and corrections we must undergo - and too often we allow our own selfishness & thoughtlessness to influence a behavior which dishonors our Father in heaven.
But like the prodigal son, we need to confess our faults to the Lord - knowing that 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
There is rejoicing in heaven when an unsaved sinner believes in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin - but there is also rejoicing when a child of God, who has been dazzled by the things of this world, comes to their senses and confesses their sin to the Lord.
The prodigal was right - he was no longer worthy to be called the son of his Father and neither are we, when we sin. However, we who have been saved by grace through faith in Christ are covered with HIS righteousness - and not a righteousness of our own. We are sons of God because of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf. We are accepted by the Father - in the Beloved and not as a result of our own righteousness.
And so when we break our fellowship with our Heavenly Father through sin, this parable of the prodigal son gives us clear instructions on how to return to sweet communion with Him. We are to leave the old life behind, repent and turn away from our sin, confessing our faults to our Heavenly Father and be obedient to what He is calling us to do.
The young son became completely aware of his sin. As he rehearses the words he will tell his Father, he accepts the consequences of his sin. Esteemed evangelist, Billy Graham wrote, "Repentance is not a word of weakness but a word of power and action." So, the son takes action and sets out to return to his Father.
Heavenly Father, We are unworthy to stand before you, and yet in Your grace, You have washed away our sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, our sacrifice for sin. We confess that we have not loved and served You as we should, and have too often placed our own selfish desires before obedience to Your Word. We admit, Lord, that we have done many things that are unworthy of Your name - but thank You that in Christ all of our sins have been washed away. Keep us humble as we walk broken before You, and as we try to walk in obedience with you all the days of our lives. This We ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.