Posted by: forbygrace | April 1, 2009

The Risk with the Prodigal Son – Part 2

Now, let us look at the exchange between the father and son.  In v.21, the son’s response to his father correlates to a sinner coming to God through Christ: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.  There is confession of sin, humility and a sense of his unworthiness.  In v.22 we see God’s grace: 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. This shows us that sinners who repent are clothed in righteousness (the best robe); that we are set apart and given power (put a ring on his finger–as Joseph in Pharaoh’s household when given the signet ring, we in Christ are given much more authority) and finally that we are established in our new family (the family of God) for good works (put sandals on his feet-that is the shoes of the readiness of the gospel spoken in Ephesians 6:15).

There is a risk in reading this parable and not understanding what it means. It is important to understand that while God does forgive believers when they sin, this parable does not speak to this.  The risk is for a person confident of their salvation to be encouraged in sin by thinking that God is out there waiting while they “sow their wild oats”.   I have heard well known preachers use this parable as a means to under gird the confidence of backsliding church-goers who live a life marked by rebellion.  How many lost people think they are saved because they had a religious or emotional experience one time at church or an evangelistic event, so they live like the prodigal son thinking all is well?   They think, “I’m okay, I can come back when I want to and God will take me back”.  My friend, if that’s how you think, you will find no encouragement in the bible that you are saved.  The fact is that some will delude themselves with this scripture to make them feel better while they sin all the way to hell. And the other side is that much of the responsibility falls on preachers and teachers, some of whom teach on this scripture without understanding it.  Don’t take my word for it and don’t take a well known preachers word either; fulfill God’s command and search the scripture as the Berean’s did.

Now what we must understand as we read the parable is that when God saves us, he gives us a new heart so that we desire to obey Him and love Him and serve Him.  Do we sin?  Yes.  Do we engage in a lifestyle ruled by persistent sin against God?  No!  Why is that?  Because when we do sin , we receive the discipline of a Heavenly Father who loves us and will not allow us to be slaves again to sin.  You see true salvation spoken of in this last verse in that he was dead (in his sins) and has begun to live (made a new creature through regeneration and continued unto sanctification).  Where it says and has begun to live is very significant as it speaks to salvation as not a one time act in your past, but an act that begins in us when we repent and believe and continues as we follow Christ.  The certainty of our hope rests with God for He is faithful.

Thanks to God that Christ did not come to save us in our sins, but from our sins.


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