We’ve all read the parable that Jesus gave us, of the Prodigal Son who ventured out on his own and things didn’t pan out for him as he had imagined they would. And of course, we have the joy and forgiveness of his father being expressed at the return of his son. And don’t forget the disgruntled elder son. Two times within that parable, Jesus speaks of how the father viewed his son as having been dead but is now alive again. Once to his slaves and once to the disgruntled son.
Obviously the younger son was alive but not to the father, because he, the younger son, was no longer in the presence of the father, and was for all intents and purposes, dead to the father, even though he, the younger son, was still physically alive. The reality being spoken of here is that even though one may be physically alive, they can, for all intents and purposes be at the same time, dead to someone else. The question comes to mind, “Are we all God’s children?” And the answer to that question is a resounding “no”.
Every time I read this portion of Scripture it reminds me of when Jesus told someone to follow Him and the man asked if he could first go and bury his father, where upon Jesus told him to “allow the dead to bury their own dead” as recorded in Luke 9:59-60.
Sounds a tad on the harsh side doesn’t it? But Jesus is never one to waste an opportunity to use a physical situation to expound upon a spiritual truth. Sin separates us from God, who is Holy, and that reality is a spiritual truth that must be eventually acknowledged by all who are physically alive yet spiritually dead. And this can happen here, while we are yet alive or after we die, when we all shall appear before Jesus. Even though we may be physically alive, we cannot be in the presence of our Holy Heavenly Father, while sin still determines who we are. Just like the prodigal son was physically alive but not in the presence of his father, because he had chosen to go his own way .
And if you think that this spiritual truth is not of the utmost importance, then you haven’t yet grasped the significance of God’s selection of the nation of Israel, the tabernacle, the priesthood, the sacrifices and the Law, to name but a few pointers to this reality, as stated and demonstrated continually throughout the entire Old Testament.
The long and the short of it is that all true children of God are prodigal sons and daughters who acknowledge that God exists and that He is Holy and just, and that we are sinners and powerless to change what we are, except for the saving grace of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. For Christians, Jesus determines who we are.
Remember when Jesus prayed to the Father while in the Garden of Gethsemane, as recorded in Matthew 26:36-39 NASB: “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and told His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” (emphasis is mine)
The thing is, it isn’t possible, there isn’t any other way. God is Holy and we in our fallen state are not. And try as we might, there is no way in which we can change what we are into what God is. Only God can do that and that is exactly what He did. Every other form of religion in the world is a process of man bringing himself into being like God. Only Christianity says it is the exact opposite. That man cannot, in and of himself, make himself like God. This is the lie that Satan spoke to Adam and Eve in the garden, that they could become like God.
Acts 4:12 NASB states: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.” (emphasis mine)
We are all prodigal sons and daughters, or we are not. Just like we are born again or we are not (John 3:7). There is no grey area in this one, nor can there be. Because if there was, it would have been possible, and it wasn’t.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!