The Father’s Love
By Pastor J.D. Link
Although Father’s Day has past, I would encourage you to read in Luke 15:11-32 the beautiful story commonly known as “The Prodigal Son” (although, “The Abundantly Loving Father” might be a better title). The insight Jesus gives us into our Heavenly Father’s heart through this story is truly amazing. Although no mortal man could ever be as perfect a Father as our Heavenly Father is, the picture drawn of Him in this portion of Scripture should be something we try to emulate as we deal with our children God has given us to raise in this world.
Certainly the older son in this story represents the religious Jews, and the younger, the irreligious Jews, a.k.a. “The lost sheep of the House of Israel”. It could also easily represent the Jews in general being the older son, and the Gentiles being the younger. However, it is also a type of the Christian – one, the “back slidden” child of God, and the other, the faithful “church goer” type. I will focus on this representation today.
Both children are true sons of their Father, living in their Father’s house. Being true sons, all that the Father has – His inheritance – He gives to both of them. This typifies becoming new creations through the new birth by faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 8:32, Eph 1:3). When we are born again, we receive all His fullness (Jn 1:16).
However, the younger son, being foolish, and thinking the world has so much offer (not realizing he had it made in His Father’s house), decided to go to a far country. The far country is the place away from God – the land of sin. A person first goes to this place in their heart and mind before they ever actually go there physically (Mt 5:27-28). He was deceived.
In the far country, he lived it up. No doubt, sin is pleasurable to the flesh for a season. That is the lure of it. It promises lots of fun, and delivers for a while. I am sure he had a real good time – but it didn’t last. It never does. Sin takes you further than you want to go; keeps you longer than you want to stay; and costs you more than you want to pay.
Now he is out of money. Like ol’ Willie sang, “If you got the money, honey, I’ve got the time.” He is out of money, and his “friends” are out of time. It says, “no man gave to him”. There was a famine in the land. Sin always ends in destitution of some sort. It ends in bankruptcy – financially, morally, emotionally, physically, etc. The world out there doesn’t love you. It doesn’t care about you. No one will love you like The Father loves you. No one will take care of you like The Father will.
Now he is in the hog pen, fighting the pigs for some scraps. What a picture of the end of sin. “I am free! No rules! No responsibility! I do what I want!”. Yeah. You’re “free” alright. Free to roll around with pigs! The true Christian, while he may get into sin for a season, cannot stay there. His momentary insanity and stupidity (sin ain’t smart – it’s impulsive) will end. He will “Come to himself – come to his senses”.
The son, in true repentance, not justifying himself, rose up and headed back to his Father. He didn’t count himself worthy to be called a son. He was just going to throw himself on the mercy of his Father. This is a good place to be. It signifies a true heart of repentance.
The Father had been looking for his return the whole time. He saw him coming a long way off. He ran to his son. This does not seem dignified – but God is love. He ran to him; hugged him; kissed Him; had compassion on him. His son could not even get out his full confession, before his Father said, “Put on him the best robe! (restored righteousness); Put the ring on his hand! (restored authority); Put shoes on his feet! – (restored sonship). While he had never lost these things in his spirit (he was still His son), he had lost them in fellowship; in soul; in body; in practical living. This is the true heart of our Father! His grace is amazing!
His older son had his own issues. True, he didn’t get into carnal sins; but rather sins of the heart. Pride. Arrogance. Performance justification. Instead of rejoicing that his Father was so happy, and that his brother was back in the family; he threw a fit. “I have done such and such. I haven’t done such and such. I deserve such and such.” His heart was revealed. His heart in “being good” wasn’t out of true love and devotion for his Father. It was religious works to earn favor with his Father. Had not The Father given him all his inheritance as well? Yes. Unfortunately, he missed out on the joy of staying home where he belonged.
Wayward Christian, wake up; arise; leave the hog pen; go back to your Father! Faithful Christian, examine your heart! Beware of pride, arrogance, legalism, and self righteousness! All Christians, be quick to repent, have a humble heart, live by God’s grace, appreciate His mercy, rejoice in His love for you. Know your Father. Know His love. Know His goodness. Live joyfully and willingly in your Father’s House, and enjoy the fullness of your inheritance in the way He would want you to! Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!