Our Freedom in Christ
Our Freedom from the Law – Part V
Scripture Reading: Luke 15:11-32
Key Verse: Luke 15:20
“So he returned home to his father.
“And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”
You are probably familiar with the Parable of the Lost Son (or the Prodigal Son), today’s Scripture Reading.
The prodigal son in the story abused his father’s kindness by living a selfish and reckless life. The prodigal son’s brother looked good on the outside because he never left his father, yet he had a sinful heart of jealousy and bitterness.
This is a powerful story to which all of us can relate. We can see ourselves in one or the other of these two brothers, or maybe a little of both.
Today’s Key Verse sums up the best part of this story. It tells us that the moment we acknowledge our sins, are sorry for them, and turn back to our Father in Heaven, He runs toward us.
Note this phrase in the Key Verse: “Filled with love and compassion”.
The “law” – or the world’s rules and understanding of right and wrong – says that the father in this story could hire the son as a servant, but since the son already received his half of the inheritance, he would live the rest of his life in poverty.
Some observers might say that a servant’s role is all the prodigal son should get. And since the elder brother’s sins were internal attitudes, some observers might praise him and agree with his opinion.
Jesus told this story to illustrate the kind of Father we have in heaven. Jesus wants us to understand the rejoicing in heaven that occurs when someone returns to the God that created them (Luke 15:10). Once again, Jesus paints a vivid picture of grace versus law.
Grace is God’s unmerited favor. God in His grace understands what the younger son deserves but forgives and understands human weaknesses. God in His grace does not turn a blind eye to our sin but rather it is longsuffering and full of compassion.
God does not force us to follow Jesus. We can turn our backs on the Father’s love just like the prodigal son did. We can develop a hard-heartedness toward reckless and wild people just like the prodigal son’s elder brother.
The good news is that our Father in Heaven has love and compassion for all people.
If you, like the prodigal son, have left the love of God and have fallen back into sin, know that the Father looks at you with compassion, not anger.
If you, like the prodigal son’s elder brother, have developed a hard-heartedness and want nothing to do with sinful people, know that the Father looks at you with compassion and can help you show His love for sinful people.
Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we live under grace, not the law. We do not get what we deserve. Instead, we get lavish love and longsuffering from our Father in Heaven.
Father, I praise You for Your love and compassion for me, even when I sin. Help me to see, by faith, Your love and forgiveness. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.