“In returning and rest you shall be saved.” Isaiah 30:15 NKJV.
Repentance is radically more than regret.
My thoughts and comments today are about, “coming home.”
We so misjudge the nature of God. You know God is the Father of our Lord Jesus, but Jesus definitively said that His father is your Father. When you believe and understand that, it is liberating truth. After Jesus’ resurrection, He said, “I am returning to My Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” John 20:17 NIV. In the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly described God as, “your Father.” Jesus did not say that His Father would be like a father to you; Jesus said that His Father would be your Father. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name . .” Read Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV.
Jesus devised stories to make truth understandable and personally applicable. In the most beloved story Jesus told, He described a loving, gracious, and forgiving father to reveal the nature of your Heavenly Father. Read Luke 15:11-19 NIV. Jesus told of a wealthy father and his two sons, a story usually presumed to be about a younger, “prodigal son,” and his elder brother. In reality, the two sons are subordinate to Jesus’ focal point. Jesus’ accent is really on the father, extravagantly selfless and sacrificially gracious to a fault. Prodigal is a word that can positively describe lavish generosity that typifies the father in Jesus’ story, or negatively describe the wanton wastefulness of the younger son.
The younger misspent what his father had given to him, and was soon left penniless, desperate, and far from home. Inevitably, however much you have will be inadequate apart from your Father. The only questions are how and when, and what comes next. “After he had spent everything . . he began to be in [desperate] need . . when he came to his senses” Reality reoriented his thoughts to his father and home, and a simpler, better time in stark contrast to his present circumstances.
Returning home was his best and only alternative. His resolve was clear, his humility sincere, his repentance real. “I have sinned against heaven and against you. I will go back to my father and say to him, ‘I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your servants.’” His journey began with demanding, “Give me my share.” He returned with humble request, “Make me like one of your servants.” Repentance is radically more than regret; “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Read 2 Corinthians 7:8-11 NIV. In love, your Father will allow past choices and present struggles to turn your heart homeward.
Picture the scene, “While he was still a long way off . . his father ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Read Luke 15:20-24 NIV. With urgency and abandon, the father ran to embrace his long absent son, smothering the prodigal with his forgiveness and rapturous joy. His reception exceeded even the remorse of his penitent son. Fear was banished, shame discarded, forgiveness spontaneously granted. Home is where you belong.
Wherever you’ve wandered, whatever you’ve done, however long you have lost your way, come home to your Father now. I remember words of an old hymn – “I’ve wandered far away from God, Now I’m coming home; The paths of sin too long I’ve trod, Lord, I’m coming home. Coming home. Coming home, Nevermore to roam, Open wide Your arms of love, Lord, I’m coming home.” William J. Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921.
Today, I pray for you to know there is a place for you in the bounteous grace of God.
Christian Communications 2016