A Father and Son Reunion
“… A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.” Luke 15:11-12. Why is it so difficult for so many to understand Jesus’ parables? He spoke in parable so those who had rejected Him would not understand what He was talking about, but afterward He explained them to His disciples, well most of them that is. Why then do so many Christians get confused with the parables? They are for our benefit. Jesus’ parables, for the most part, are a picture of God dealing with His children. God loves His children and Jesus occasionally conveyed that love through His parables. The parable of the prodigal son is one such occasion. After reading of the exploits of the prodigal son one should come away fully convinced of God’s incredible and everlasting love for those who belong to Him.
This particular parable begins with an apparently wealthy man with property, servants, and livestock. The man had two sons; the younger of the two sons became dissatisfied with his life and made the decision to head out into the world to see what the world had to offer. Before this young man left he asked his father to give him his inheritance, so the father divided the inheritance between both sons, and the youngest quickly left. “And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.” Luke 15:13-14. Yes the inevitable happened and the young man was quickly corrupted by the world. As such, he went about wasting what his Father had given him on things that fulfilled his worldly lusts. As is common in many instances when an inheritance is involved, the money is spent with total abandon. What was not earned, many times, is not appreciated. I’ve seen people drop a hundred thousand dollar inheritance quicker than they would drop a twenty dollar bill that they worked hard to acquire.
“And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.” Luke 15:15-16. After this young man had wasted his entire inheritance, a famine took hold of that country, and he was now looking starvation square in the eye. The young man did find work in a pig sty, and to anyone it would have been a humbling job, but to the Jewish audience listening to the parable it was totally repulsive. You see, swine are unclean animals that Jews have nothing to do with. This young man had stooped as low as any Jew could stoop. The young man was attempting to keep from starving by living off the scraps left by the swine.
“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” Luke 15:17. While in the pig sty starving the young man began to reflect on just how much better off he would be even as a servant at his Father’s house. “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” Luke 15:18-19. So this youngest son of the wealthy Father knew what he needed to do. He had to return to his Father’s house and apologize for his disobedience and sinful lifestyle. In his heart he knew he was no longer worthy to be called his Father’s son, but perhaps he could return as a servant on his Father’s property.
The next verse is so awesome and full of the proof of our Fathers love for even one child who goes astray that it completely undermines any thought of one losing their salvation. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says happened next. “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 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, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:20-24. Here we learn that this young son had not lost his son-ship. He was always the father’s son even as he was living with the swine. Yes, indeed the boy was out of fellowship with his father, but when he came to his senses he immediately repented of his sins and the fellowship he once took for granite was reestablished with his father.
Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son speaks of the relationship between God the Father and those who have become sons of God. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14. God’s sons are all those who are born again. Outsiders without understanding of how God views those who’ve been born again would look at this young man as a dead, lost soul. But in reality, as a son of God, he had only moved away from his Father’s fellowship.
The entire chapter of Luke 15 speaks of the Fathers love for a wandering child. The parable about the man who left 99 sheep to go and seek the one that had wandered off and the parable about the women who lost a silver coin and swept clean her entire home until she found the coin both tell of people seeking something they owned but had lost. There was rejoicing in Heaven on both occasions as these verses speak of those who belong to God wandering off and then being found again. What many miss when they read of the sheep wandering and the silver coin disappearing is that both the man who lost one of his sheep and the women who lost one of her coins already possessed these two items. The sheep already belonged to the man and the coin belonged to the women. They were lost for a while but then they were found. I was lost but now am found. There are those who are indeed lost, not saved. But there are also those who are saved (who belong to the Father) and simply wander off. The later are addressed in this chapter of Luke’s Gospel.
Remember God never moves away from us, but because of the human appetite for lust we move toward sin coinciding with our move away from the Father. In his first epistle, which was written to Christians, John tells us that fellowship can and will be re-established. “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. As you read John’s epistles you will notice that he speaks exclusively to the sons of God.
Yes, I’ll receive a lot of negative responses on this subject since many have been taught that if that young son would have died while living among the swine he would have been condemned to Hell. That interpretation means that anytime one of us (sons of God) sins and removes themselves from fellowship with God, and then dies in that condition, we are instantly condemned to Hell. The people who believe this erroneous teaching really have no concept of God’s power and will. God keeps those who belong to Him secure in His hands and no man can remove us from God’s hand. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” John 10:27. Our salvation is based on our belief in Jesus the Christ, what He did for all of us by allowing man to nail Him to that cross, then to die and be raised again on the third day. This is God’s generously free gift to us and once we are born again, born from above – from God – it doesn’t take our strength to stay secure in His hands; it is God’s strength which keeps us justified in His eyes. Being justified doesn’t mean we will never wander off.
Jesus taught the parable of the prodigal son so we could get a clear picture of God our Father always standing before us with open arms. God is always in a fellowship mode, whether we walk away or not He’s there. If we do walk away, God remains diligent waiting for us to re-join Him where He is. Once a person becomes justified (saved), that person is no longer accountable for their sins “…for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I... Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” Romans 7:15b, 17.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26. As God’s children sin can’t remove us from the Father’s hands. Whether they be past sins or future sins, they have been paid for by God Himself. Thus our actions after we are justified are never condemning. We may feel terrible during a session of sinning and rebellion, as well we should, and that’s the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us. But we, as born again believers in Christ, are never condemned. Out of fellowship? Yes. Never condemned.
God always takes us back no matter what kind of mischief we get ourselves into. We move away, He waits for us to return. The reward of salvation is the same for those in fellowship as for those out of fellowship. And every believer’s inheritance remains intact no matter where they walk off to while on earth.
God bless you all,
All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed
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