Coming Home to Grace

Oct 4th, 2017

Since Adam and Eve ate the apple the human race has been exposed to sin. We have fallen from the perfect grace of God. According to the law the wage of sin is death. But through Jesus we have hope to renew and redeem ourselves. The important thing is we have to come home and come back to God’s grace.  Now some of you might be saying I can’t come back to God I have done some things I can never be forgiven for. The truth is all sin is equal to God. There is no “small” sin or “big” sin It’s just sin. Christ had to die on the cross for our sins for us to be saved.  The part we need to know is we have to come back to God and ask for forgiveness to receive the free Gift from our heavenly Father of Grace. No parable better sums this up then the parable of the prodigal son or also called the parable of the lost son found in Luke 15:11- 31.  For those that have never read the parable the younger son asks for his portion of his inheritance. He then takes it and squanders it all. He ends up slopping pigs. He finally decides he could do better by being a slave for his father. So he returns home.  This parable told by Jesus is portrayed in a language, culture and way that we understand how God and all the heaven rejoices when we come home. The Father is God and we are the lost son when we have wandered. The younger son, like many who are rebellious and immature, wanted to be free to live as he pleased, and he had to hit bottom before he came to his senses.  The father goes running to meet the son when he came home. Just the way God does when we come home. Many of us who follow the rules might wish the father would have said   “Your in debt to me for the rest of your life. You really messed up. Pay back what you owe to me.” But that is not the way God works. True by the letter of the law we must pay our debt but that is why He sent Jesus.  John 3:16 “God so loved the world that He sent His only son to die for us so that we may have eternal life”  The only way God can be true to Himself is when Jesus dies on the cross. It allows God to maintain His moral law but still love us unconditionally and give us the grace that we so desperately need. God is Love and God is Grace. He is forgiving and compassionate because the ultimate price was paid by His son. For that reason He is the Holy God of Grace, which means when one of his back sliding children comes home God comes running to them with open arms and hugs them. The lost son was forgiven before he ever got home. The same is true of us. Doesn’t matter what the sin is or how far we have wandered from God, He is ready to meet us and welcome us back when and if we decided to return home. Grace is God’s kindness unconditional love and forgiveness for us.

This is more then just a parable that Jesus tells. This is a message that we still can apply to our lives today.  In the parable this is a Jewish boy slopping hogs for a gentile. That would have been the low of low for him. The bottom of the barrel. He had bankrupted himself emotionally, spiritually and financially.  It often takes great sorrow and tragedy to cause people to look to the only One who can help us. Are you trying to live your life your way, selfishly pushing aside any responsibility or commitment that gets in your way? Stop and look before you hit bottom. If you haven’t hit that bottom yet you can save yourself and your family a lot of grief by turning back home now.  For others we have been there already in some way in our lives.  We can even ask how many of us have been in or had that moment in our lives where we have already hit bottom. Could be drugs, alcohol, other addictions, bad habits, a wrong life style, promiscuity, personal issues in our lives or families. Sometimes until we hit that bottom in what we are dealing with we don’t turn to God and we don’t come home.  Through Jesus dying on the cross we can come home. John Newton learned that. It is summed up in the words he wrote in the song Amazing Grace, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.”  Newton knew he did not deserve the Grace of God but he was glad he had it.  A later verse also has words that sum up the wayward path we take in life but through God’s forgiviness we can come home to love. “Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’tis grace has bro’t me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”

In the story of the lost son, the father’s response is contrasted by the older brother’s. The father forgave because he was filled with love. The older son refused to forgive because he was bitter. His resentment rendered him just as lost to his father’s love as his younger brother had been.  People who repent after leading notoriously sinful lives are often met with scepticism or held in suspicion by the church and the people in the church. Sometimes members of churches are unwilling to admit these “sinful” people into their membership.  Instead we need to be like the father and rejoice like the angels in heaven when people return home to God’s family Like the father, accept repentant sinners wholeheartedly and give them the support and encouragement that they need to grow in Christ. We can’t let anything stop us from forgiving others. For we all have sinned against God and none is set above anyone else in God’s eyes.  If we refuse to forgive others we are missing a wonderful opportunity to experience joy of someone returning to God and share it with others.

We have all been lost to various degrees in our lives. Some have strayed a little further from home. But the free gift of God’s grace is open to everyone. We talk about this free Gift from God. It wasn’t a free gift. It is free to us but it cost God His son. Talk to any parent that has lost a child, they will tell you it is a painful experience. But God loves us that much that the gift was worth the price it cost. It’s up to us to come home and accept the gift and become part of the God’s family. An opportunity to become a son or daughter of the King of Kings. In becoming a member of this royal spiritual family we become Prince’s and Princess’ of the King.

I don’t know what you are going through in your life right now, but come home to God, your loving kind, gracious, forgiving Father in heaven. Take your place as a child of God. A prince or princess in His Kingdom.  If your sick of “your hog pen in life”, then I encourage you to “Come Home” and let the Father meet you, open His arms wide and hug you and give you the love you deserve.

Matthew R. Marshall