In the gospel of Luke we find a story about a son who had taken his inheritance from the family and went away to a far land. While there he wasted the inheritance on unwise and questionable living. Much like many of us do when we first leave home. When he had run out of money, there was a famine in the land and he was caught with no money, no job, and no way to come home. Stranded in the this foreign land he took a job as a servant to an unrighteous man who took advantage of him. After some time of this the young man, out of desperation decided to swallow his pride and return home.
The time away had beaten the young man in more than one way. His heart was broken and his life was in shambles. He had no hope, he only wanted to get home and beg his father for mercy and help. I can think of times in my life when I had ruined all the opportunities that youth had given me, and squandered my money and eventually was left with nothing but burned bridges. Shamefully I turned to family for help. Not knowing if they would help, but desperately needing it.
Some of you are very familiar with this story, but I want to concentrate on this one aspect. When the father saw the young man in the distance, he ran to him. Then he called his servants and told them to put a robe on him, and a ring on his finger. This is what I want us to see. The son had travelled a far way. His previous job had him living with pigs, and eating the leftovers of what the pigs did not eat. He was malnourished, unclean, smelling. Yet his father loved him anyway. His father did not say, “Oh my, go get a bath, and put on some perfume before you hug me!” No his father instead ran to him, and kissed him passionately over and over again.
This is the love that God has for us. He loved us before we were cleansed. We did not have to clean ourselves up and be presentable before he embraced us. A lot of Christians will tell you that God loves me just the way I am, and that is true. He does love us, just the way we are. But if we look closer at this parable, we see that his father loved his son so much that he did not let him remain unclean. This is the way our heavenly Father also loves us. He loves us so much that he cannot leave us in the mire and stench that Jesus saved us from. He renews our minds and transforms us into his image.
Psalm 3:3 says, “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap”. In other places in scripture it describes how the Lord brought the writer out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set his feet upon a rock making his footsteps firm (Psalm 40:2). The Lord wants better for us than to just be saved from hell. He wants us to be what we were meant to be in Him.
Romans 8:37 explains how that we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. We are more than victorious, more than vanquishers, more than subjugators. Christians need to study scripture and awaken to the truths that God has given us. We do not need to be sheepish and tied to the things that kept us bound before. When the son in this story had returned home to his father’s embrace, he had also left the pig pen behind. He was not living in that filth anymore. -Amen