Grace Rejected - Part 1

Posted by donna on July 4, 2019

blog.jpgThe Parable of the Prodigal, as told by Jesus in Luke 15, is not primarily directed to us as believers. It is not just a story of a wayward son who came to his senses and returned home to a loving and forgiving father. Nor is it a story that primarily focuses on the younger son as representative of sinners in need of grace. It is a parable with a point, which Jesus directed to the religious leaders of that day.  He was speaking to those who saw themselves as better, as superior, as “good” because they, unlike the younger son, obeyed the rules including all the religious requirements of their day. They believed that they somehow deserved better.

Enter the elder son … “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.” But he was angry and refused to go in” (Luke 15:25-28a).

How is that that such a joyous occasion, like the return of a long-lost brother, which produced a joyous response in the father, could produce such anger in another son? Grace rejected. The elder son refused to celebrate and reconcile with his younger brother. His focus was on what his brother had done, wasting his life and inheritance. He had obeyed the rules, not living scandalously or squandering his inheritance, he served his father.

The problem with moralism is that it focuses on the exterior, and it loses sight of the heart. In contrast, the Gospel looks at the heart. The Gospel is redeeming; therefore, the father not only received his wayward son back, he restored him as a son, and he celebrated his return!

Grace rejected refuses to see the heart change and solely focuses on the outward appearance and perceived image. A caution for each of us. How often can we identify with the older son, in our judgment of others, our standard of what the Gospel must be and how it must be expressed, and then apply that to everyone but ourselves? This lesson hits home, personally. We are all fallen creatures and though wonderfully transformed and saved by the power of the Gospel, the old nature is still alive and well. But there is hope! The apostle Paul writes “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

The Parable of the Prodigal is a reminder that both a hedonist and the moralist need grace. Both are lost and guilty, albeit in different ways. Both disrespected the father. Both focused on themselves. Both represent each of us today in many ways. It’s easy to get caught up in our own rules about the Gospel and unwittingly reject the grace that is freely offered. Let us embrace the truth that we have been crucified with Christ, we need not live in the remnants of our old nature, we need not reject grace.

Embracing GRACE,

Bill Allan first name.PNG 

Bill Allan

AGC President

Cliquez sur le lien ci-dessous pour la version Française: Blogue de Bill Juillet 2019