Salvation is For You!
“Salvation is For You!”
Luke 15:11-32: The Parable of the Lost Son
“Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still 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 to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here 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.’ And they began to be merry.’”
This story starts with a Father who has two sons, the younger one asking for his inheritance so that he might go and live the ‘high life'. It is interesting to note that the Father divided the inheritance between the both of them; both could have taken and used the inheritance. The younger son did and ended up using it on a life that seemed to be everything he desired. He had wealth, popularity and could do anything he wanted, but eventually it was all gone and he was left with nothing. He ended up feeding pigs and was so hungry; he was even eating what the pigs were eating.
My friend, we have a Heavenly Father who has given you every good thing that you have in your life. Your gifts and talents, your creativity, your physical body, your character and mannerisms, your life, your family, everything that makes you who you are comes from Father God. The Bible says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and that He thought of you before you were even conceived in your mother’s womb.(Jeremiah 1:5)
Now you can take this life, this inheritance and be like the younger brother and go waste it. Certainly, in the best case scenario it will seem like you are getting somewhere in the world; your material possessions are increasing, your popularity, your fame, your influence, your power, your relationships with all the ‘fabulous’ people, etc. But read and think on this verse in the Bible; “what does it matter (profit) if a person gains the whole world but loses their soul?” (Matthew 16:26) You get everything you desire or have ever wanted; your life works out according to your perfect plan; then what? You die; what was it all for?
We find this young man in the pig pen; as low as it gets. Now for the Jews looking after pigs definitely was looked down on, let alone eating pig food. But it is often at our lowest point, when the reality of what is happening in our hearts is also being played out in the natural, that we begin to look up; no longer in a place where we can look down on people and think ourselves better than them. The young man started to think about his Father and his Fathers’ house and family. He recognized how far he had fallen and he realized that even the servants in his father’s house were in a better situation than what he was in. He decided it would be worth his while to go back to his father and just beg to be a servant.
This is where the Christian path to salvation starts; when we look at ourselves and realise that we have fallen far short of what our Heavenly Father has for us. Yes, we may be materially stable, having it all together in front of people, but in all sincerity when we look into the depths of our heart, we are sinking in the mud of a pig pen and eating the garbage that we eventually realise the world is trying to feed us. Alone, depressed, worried, anxious, always wearing a mask of pride and pretending that we have it all together, always eating and looking for ways to be distracted but never satisfied, and the list goes on of the things that we see inside ourselves.
You see, as in this story of the younger brother, our Heavenly Father wants to have an awesome relationship with you. He wants you to be His child, He wants you to get the most out of the inheritance, out of the gifts, talents and life He has given you. He wants you to find a sense of belonging that you can only find by being a part of His family. He wants you to spend eternity with Him The Bible says that the thoughts and plans He has for His children are all good; thoughts and plans to prosper them and to give them a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) This is what God wants for you! This life may be a struggle but there is an eternal future with God that is waiting for you that will be awesome!!!
However we, like the younger son, take our lives and run in the opposite direction to how our Heavenly Father wants us to live. The Bible calls this sin and tells us that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard. (Romans 3:23) This is what the law in the Bible shows us; the 10 commandments. (You can read these in Deuteronomy 5, the fifth book from the beginning of the Old Testament of the Bible). The law in the Bible is like a mirror that we can look into and see how far we have fallen short of God’s standards. For example the law says “Do not lie”; most people, if not all, have lied, therefore we are liars. Moving on, the law says “Do not commit adultery” and Jesus actually goes further and explains that if a man lusts after a woman (or other way round) then he has committed adultery in his heart; therefore you are an adulterer. The law says “Do not murder” and once again Jesus takes it even further saying that if we have anger and hate in our hearts, then we have committed murder in our hearts; therefore we are murderers. (Matthew 5:17-28) We can keep going on with this list showing that we are idolaters, blasphemers, thieves, etc.
All this leads to us looking at ourselves through this mirror of the law and seeing that we are guilty of breaking God’s law. We really don’t do a very good job of keeping any of His law. Every one of us is guilty and the punishment of that sin is death and total separation from God in hell for eternity, whether we have broken just one law or all of them. (Romans 6:23) We need to recognise, just like the younger brother, that we need help. We are hopelessly lost and need someone to rescue us. In humility and brokenness we need to come to our Father.
Examine your life now; recognise that you are but a speck in the universe and that you fall way short of God’s glory and His standards. Realise that there is no other way to God, no human made way will be sufficient, nothing will satisfy, material things will disappear, people are fickle and will eventually die. There is only one way to our Father - through Jesus. (John 14:6)
A well-known passage in the Bible says this, “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have ever lasting life.” (John 3:16) While that young man was still far away, the Father saw him and he ran to meet the younger son. Jesus Christ died for you while you were still a sinner; (Romans 5:8) His love reached out for you even though He knew you would reject Him. He came and took the punishment of your sin; death and separation from God. He died so that you might live and not have to go through this life alone without hope. He is our Hope and our Saviour!
On a cross, naked, on top of a hill, with arms spread wide in a posture of His limitless love for you, He died for you. He took our sin, our sickness, our disease, our pain, our punishment, our death; He was a sacrifice for us. But because Jesus lived a sinless life, a life following His Father, death did not have any power over Him; He could not stay dead. He rose from the dead. This is the resurrection life and hope that you can have; because He lives, you can live! (2 Corinthians 1:9-10, Romans 6:8-10) Our sin and punishment stayed dead, buried and defeated, but our Saviour rose giving life to all who accept His power and grace.
What do you have to do to join God’s family, to receive salvation from God and escape the punishment of sin and death that is over your life? What did the younger son do? He came to his father came with a plan to say that he was not worthy and that his father should just make him a servant. My friend, the younger son got one thing right; he came with nothing, in humility and begging for forgiveness. He confessed his sin before his father. The Bible says that if we confess our sins before God, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) He recognized that the way he had being living was leading him to death. What did his Father do? Hug him to bits and kiss his neck; the Father didn’t even respond to the sons planned message of unworthiness. The first words the Father said was to his servants, “Get my son a robe to put on him, a ring for his finger, shoes for his feet; get the fatted calf ready so that we can have a celebration. He was lost, but now he is found!”
Wow, this is our Heavenly Father’s humility and heart towards us! Oh, we are definitely not worthy of His grace and love, but that doesn’t stop Him pouring it out toward us. What do we have to do? All we have to do is open our arms to receive the robe of righteousness that He puts on us. All we have to do is accept the gift of Jesus Christ and that His righteousness is now being put on us. It covers us and our sins are washed away by the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood. And we just have to receive it, as simple as that.
What else do we have to do? Open our hands and allow the ring to be put on our finger. You cannot get a ring put on your finger if your hand is clenched into a fist. You must forgive… just as Jesus forgave you, do as the Bible commands; forgive yourself and forgive others. (Colossians 3:13) We need to have open hands, where we do not hold tight to hold hurts and the past, but allow the grace of God to heal us and put a ring of purity and wholeness on our fingers.
Finally, we need to allow the shoes to be put on our feet. This speaks to us of a turning from the way we have been living, and walking in God’s Way. This requires repentance and for us to submit to God’s Word in order to know how He wants us to live. “God’s Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”. (Psalm 119:105)
It’s simple! It’s a gift. If we allow God to pour His grace over us and accept His gift, just like the father threw a celebration for the home coming of his lost son, the Bible says that heaven and the angels rejoice over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15:10) Heaven will rejoice if today you decide to repent and turn your life over to God.
1. Come to God in humility and recognise your sin and need for Him
2. Accept the gift of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made for you on the cross
3. Forgive others and allow God’s forgiveness to come and heal you
4. Repent and turn and follow God’s way as shown in His Word, the Bible.
Heavenly Father, I come to you in brokenness and humility. I come to you recognizing that I have sinned and done wrong before you, and the punishment I deserve is death and hell. But today I stand at the start of the doorway to the narrow road that is salvation through Jesus Christ alone. I confess my sins before you now and I repent and ask that you would wash and take away my sins; clean me. I accept today Jesus as the Lord and Saviour of my life; I believe that He died for me and that He rose from the dead. I believe that He took my place and that now I am covered by His righteousness and grace alone.
Help me now to turn and live for you. Help me to forgive others and even myself and allow You, Father, to come and heal my life. Show me what it is to walk according to Your Word and to listen to Your Holy Spirit. Thank you for your love. Thank you that my name is written in the Book of Life. Amen
The Bible says that there is joy in heaven and among the angels when even one sinner repents!
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