Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Creation to Restoration 5

The Prodigal Son: A Message for Sinners and the Religious Alike

In the story of the lost son, we see a beautiful picture of the Gospel, especially how it pertains to the religious trying to please God in their own efforts. The story begins with a loving father (God) who gives His children the freedom to go their own way if they choose.

Recognition
The son who thought he could do better on his own than follow the Father’s way, soon squanders all he has and finds himself in a life of servitude. He could have been content in that life, convincing himself that everything was just fine. Many do. However, this son comes to the realization that he has erred. Living in servitude to his father would be a better state than the one he in which has landed.

Repentance
So the son decides to return to the father. He knows he has betrayed his father’s love and trust, but he will ask to be allowed back into the household as a servant and no longer a son. However, the father has been watching and waiting. Hoping that the son will remember the fathers love a return. When he sees the son he rejoices and restores the son as his son. The father has the willingness and the means to do so. All that is required is recognition, repentance and reliance on the son’s part.

Religion in the Face of Restoration
Jesus does not end the story there, though. There is another son. This one has stayed in the father’s house, even though it is clear that he too has lost his relationship with the father. Even though he never left home, he has been living the life of a servant, constantly trying to earn the fathers love through effort. He could have been freely enjoying the gift of his role as son in a joyous relationship with the father, but he had chosen to try to earn that love. It is a picture of religious pride. The religious man sees the sin problem, but does not repent and turn to God for help. He tries to fix the relationship in his own power. He is just as much a fool as the lost man. And the solution to his problem is the same as well: recognition, repentance and reliance.

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