The Prodigal Son
In Luke chapter 15, Jesus tells us a wonderful story. It speaks of God’s patience, His loving kindness, and willingness to allow us learn from our mistakes however bad they may be.
11 “And he said, A certain man had two sons:”
This sentence hints at how God will be revealing a distinction between two of His children.
12 “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. 13 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.”
We see one of the sons is younger, which is an indication of immaturity. He has been identified with the father since he was born, so he is not new child. Just like us, we are identified with God when we are born again. This story is about someone who is immature, not unlike immature Christians who are tossed by the passions of their sinful nature, which still holds power over them.
Immature Christians are distinguished from new Christians. Immature Christian are particularly susceptible to the dangers in this story. They have had time to grow, yet have lingered in their faith allowing Satan to get footholds in different areas of their Christian life. As a result, they have allowed stumbling blocks that hinder their maturity. Rather than growing closer to God their compromise places them at risk of growing cold and falling from grace.
New Christians on the other hand are usually on fire, and eager to learn to grow in Christ. Where they end up later in life is up to how they are obedient to Christ. This story is a warning for all that are not mature in Christ.
What defines an mature Christian? Our Heavenly Father has most generously given us grace to grow in Christ. A Christian that has grown through grace has learned how to subject his thoughts, his body, and his time to holy living serving the Lord and hoping in His return. This is what the younger son had not developed. Like most of us, he was mesmerized by his sinful nature and its attraction to the enticements of the world.
Additionally, the son who knew he had an inheritance and decided to take it all and live his life of liberty; or so he thought. Naturally, when we sin, we go to a place far away from our Father’s presence.
God has given us the gift of eternal life. The moment we believe we are His sons and daughters. We are added as royal family members with untold wealth. Dare we squander such a wonderful inheritance? No we shouldn’t but we can, and we can lose it all!
Prodigal means to squander or waste wealth by living and spending money luxuriously. We as Christians do this everyday. It can be reflected in our lifestyle, our choices, and our fruits. If the average American spent time reading the Bible instead of the TV, they could have read it over 22 times in one year, spread the gospel to countless others, served in love (praying, feeding, etc.) rather than wasting our time with worldly and carnal distractions.
He lived riotously and lost everything . . . his entire inheritance! Let that sink in for a moment, everything his father gave him, not only his wealth, his identity, his home, his citizenship. They were all gone! If he would have died there, he would be forever separated from his father even if he was once his child.
14 “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.”
When we leave our Father’s presence for the desires of the world we become spiritually poor and the world around us offers nothing in return. Nothing that lasts, nothing that satisfies, nothing but emptiness. If we choose to stay in that land, we will die starving and alone. It istarting to sound kinda like hell to me but through providence the emptiness in our soul, is a calling, a gracious preview of what is to come if we don’t repent and find our way back . . .
15 “And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.”16 “And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.”
The son abandoned his Father and became a citizen of another country. We are always a servant to someone, either this world unto sin and death or God, unto peace and life. There is no replacement for God. Not only that, but to the Jew; swine are unclean creatures (symbolic of sin). The boy had to feed and care for (the fruits of his sin). Not only had sin become a stumbling block, he now served it. There is one redeeming factor in sin; it shows us of our emptiness and utter need for God’s glorious redemption.
17 “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! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”
The hollow veil of sin showed the son his destitute nature. He knew his Father was good and hope was refreshed in him. God’s grace is so forgiving. He can make any sinner whole even one who once was a child of God that left his citizenship of heaven for the world. This is the beginning of repentance, salvation, and sanctification: knowing our state as a sinner and a servant of sin.
20 “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.”21 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.”
The son had to act. He had to ask his Father for forgiveness. What is amazing here is that God knows what we are going to do. Even as we ask for forgiveness, it is already done. Did you notice that the Father ran to him? God wants everyone to be saved (we were all once a part of His family in the garden). God does not just wait for us, he helps us along as we come stumbling, starving, and naked. Oh, how we as prodigal neglect so great a salvation that the second Adam has suffered and died for.
22 “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:” 23 “And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
There is great rejoicing when a child of God who lost his inheritance returns! We can be restored. Like David, after committing adultery and murder, he repented and the joy of his salvation was restored.
25 “Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.”
Those that remain faithful here on Earth can sometimes be troubled when they see those who live riotously seemingly getting away with their sins. Be not deceived, we all get what is due to us. God rewards and judges us according to our works. This is not the same as salvation, which we cannot earn. Works are a result, a condition of saving faith, and is nonetheless critically important as a child of God.
28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.”
The faithful child who does not stray from their salvation may not realize their reward yet. They do things in secret for God, not getting the adoration of man, or immediate gratification. This can try our souls. Grace is suppose to teach us patience and understanding. We all have some maturing to do. That is why we are constantly told to endure, hold fast, and run the race as an athlete trains.
31 “And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”
As faithful servants, God wants to give all He has to us. He even wants to serve us, forever! Oh, to realize the glory awaiting our weary souls. We will be changed. God is going to give us a new estate, just wait. Nothing in this world even compares.
32 “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
God and the angels in Heaven are right to rejoice for it is a miracle when someone who was dead becomes alive. God rejoices especially in this parable because one of his children had become lost and was found. If this child would have died in the foreign country, he would have been lost forever and buried by the swine he fed. There are many examples and warnings against losing what God has given us by forgetting the truth and turning back to sin.
Be not deceived: We need to rightly divide the word of God . . . and live it.
To think that you can live in sin and still be a child of God is a deception from the Devil that began in Genesis. It continues in churches today and is spread by evangelists in huge stadiums all over the world. This other gospel is like a train, nearly impossible to stop and in its wake, demons are dragging souls to Hell. Flee this path, cease from sin, avoid every appearance of evil and walk humbly and in holiness to your Father’s house. This life requires dedication and ceaseless commitment. Fear not, He will dress you, feed you, and keep you if you walk in Him.
I once road on this train and lived in a land far away from my God.
Frankly, I am tired of the pigs.