The Prodigal Son – Part 3
We read Luke 15:17-19. God in His infinite mercy granted repentance to the Prodigal Son even as he was sinking in the mire, the awful pig-sty of sinful degradation. “He came to himself..” He came to his senses. He came to his right mind. How did that happen? The Holy Spirit worked in his heart, brought him to remember his father’s house.
Let me at the outset say, We don’t have to sink into such depths as the Prodigal Son sank in the mire. Many times God speaks to us and the thought comes: “I am going down; I am sinking.” “Things are not good; they are going from bad to worse.” “I am helpless; no one can help me.” “The situation is hopeless; there is no chance of recovery.” When such thoughts come, when your conscience pricks you, what should you do? Turn to God; reach out to Christ. Don’t wait till you sink into the dreadful clutches of the devil, and you reach the point of destruction. Don’t be like that Prodigal Son.
It was only through the amazing grace of God that the realization came to the Prodigal Son. He remembered his father’s house. Even the hired servants there had bread enough and to spare, Lk 15.17. He remembered his father’s house – the safety there, the succour (comfort) there, the sufficiency (abundance) there – the surplus that even the hired servants had! There was bread for all. God’s house is a Bethlehem (house of bread); God supplies every need of His saints. Isn’t it wonderful that God grants repentance? Read Rom 2.4, Acts 5.32, 2 Tim 2.25. Repentance is a gift of God.
First, realization, coming to one’s senses. Second, his decision to return to his father’s house. God says, “Turn to Me!” (that means, Repent!). And the young man translated the thought of ‘turning’ into action; he arose and he came to his father’s house, 20a. Not enough to just feel sorry for yourself; you have to get up and get right with God. Take the steps of repentance! Thirdly, you must confess. The young man decided: “I will say to my father, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and against you!'” We must have the conviction that we have sinned, that we have rebelled against God and gone our reckless ways. And we must open our mouth and confess our sin. When there is conviction, confess! We must acknowledge that we are sinners – by birth, by choice, by thought, by word, by deed! It is not only our sinful deeds; we have a sinful nature.
Fourthly, (and I am talking about true repentance in all its aspects), there must be brokenness and humility. The young man decides to say and finally says, “I am no more worthy to be called your son.” We are unworthy sinners. We rightly deserve the punishment of a just God. But God is so merciful to us – He brings us to our senses, He grants us repentance. And it is our responsibility to get up and go back to our Father’s house!
[I am not going to talk about the further self-abasement that the Prodigal Son was contemplating. He wants to go and tell his father, in utter self-humiliation, “Make me as one of your hired servants.” But of course he does not say that last word. How can he say it? In the true Father’s house, there are no hired servants. All God’s servants are born in God’s house; just like Abraham’s servants, Gen 14.14.]