Theology Thursday: The Prodigal

So I have been struggling with what and how to post on Thursdays.  I don’t really want to change my writing style, but sometimes writing about theology or doctrine stuff can be a bit different.  (That is why today is late.)  Rather than go through a systematic theology discussion I’m just going to write what God is teaching me.  Hopefully it will be a blessing.

A few days ago a friend hinted at needing to be a part of “Legalists Anonymous” because of falling into that Pharisee trap.  I agreed and it got me thinking about a book I read recently, Prodigal God by Tim Keller.

The book looks at the story of the Prodigal son from a somewhat different perspective.  As Christ tells the story, we all agree and can empathize with the younger son because we can relate to being lost in our sin and needing rescue.  We can relate to the wonder and glory of the mercy and grace of the father because we have experienced the same from our Heavenly Father.

We see the reaction of the elder son, though, and we get upset, frustrated, and even angry.  How can he be so unforgiving?  How can he be so ungracious?  We don’t like the elder brother and are very offended by his reaction.  Boom!  That’s when it should hit us, we are the elder brother.  We started the story as the younger brother, and now as the focus shifts to the elder brother, so do we.  We are unforgiving of his attitude, we are ungracious with him, and we react poorly to him.  Generally, we are too caught up in our offense toward the elder brother to notice that we have shifted from being the younger son to being the elder son.

Then, boom again!  Christ turns the table and the mercy and grace that were given to the younger son are now granted by the father to the elder son.  That’s when we get to the real point of the story.  The grace and mercy of the father is abundant towards both of his sons.  He forgives their faults and failures and he graciously offers them entrance to the feast.

The Gospel is exactly the same.  God offers grace and mercy to us all, licentious and legalist alike.  He mercifully forgives our rotten attitudes and our disrespect of Him.  He graciously offers us a place at the feast He is preparing, a feast we have no right or reason to expect to attend.  But because of the “real” elder brother, Christ, and His work on the cross, we are granted the right and ability to attend.  Because of Christ, we belong at the feast.  Praise God for the glorious message of the Gospel.

~cc

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