"And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they begun to celebrate. (Luke 15:21-24)
This story of the prodigal son is amazing, and it pertains to every one of us. We are this son. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory. I know I've gone on my own path, believing I knew what was right and what was wrong. But even my moral compass isn't enough truth. The Lord wants us all to come to Him. He's not keeping a tally of all the sin we commit. He's waiting for us to come alive, AGAIN. We need to be redeemed. The son in Luke believed that he could get a job as a slave for his father, and be able to earn food and shelter. The son was sleeping with the pigs and had nowhere to go. When he came to his father, he had no idea his father would bless him with a celebration and give him the rights to his wealth, AGAIN. The father redeemed his son.
God is the same. We are ALL His children and He loves us all EQUALLY. He wants to redeem us, put fine robes on us, and give us His best...but we have to first seek Him. We have to come to Him. The prodigal son's father thought his son was dead. He didn't know any better. All he knows is his son squandered the wealth, and left; never to hear from his son again. And then his son came to him, and the father redeemed him. I know the Lord is omniscient. But, we still have FREE WILL. Although the Lord knows you aren't physically dead, to Him, you're spiritually dead. And He CAN NOT save you. Because we HAVE to come to Him. He is more than willing to receive us and give us His best, but we have to come to Him to be received. To be RE-born, we have to first be found. And to be found, we cannot be lost. And to not be lost, we have to find our Owner. And to find our Owner, we have to believe Christ bought us with His blood and obedience. And when we believe that, we are not only found. We are redeemed.
"But he answered and said to his father, 'Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.' "And he said to him, 'Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 'But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found." (Luke 15:28-32)
This is a problem that us believers face. We are like the prodigal son's brother sometimes. We tend to hold ourselves in favor when we do what the Lord asks us to do. We think that because we have done His commands, we are to be held at a higher blessing. But this is simply not true. The older brother was jealous that his father gave the younger son the fattened calf, his best, and celebrated his return. All his older brother could see was an outcast from the family, coming back from squandering all the wealth he took from his father. But that's not what OUR Father sees. He sees His son coming back to Him, and He's ready to bless him.
As followers of Christ, we cannot condem the sinners. We cannot get upset when someone that has led a sinful life, comes to the Lord, and recieves blessings. We cannot be upset when a sinner comes to the Lord, and is favored and loved equally to us. Why? Because like the father of the prodigal son said, we ALREADY have the blessings. When the Lord rejoices for the return of His lost sheep, we are not to be jealous, but to rejoice with Him. Everything the Lord has, is ours. And everytime someone NEW comes into the Kingdom, they have just as much right to His blessings as we do. Whether we have been saved for 20 years or 20 minutes, we are all redeemed and we all have the same right to the Lord's blessings.
There are no better than the lost sheep that has yet to find the Lord. We have nothing to boast about. It isn't how long we go without sinning that saves us, but the grace we receive after we sin. It's hard to accept sometimes, the fact that we cannot earn our way into heaven. The world we live in has accustomed us to working for what we have. But God is not the world. He is God. And we must accept that the ONLY reason we are saved, is because He let Christ become our sin so we could be forgiven. We are redeemed and we are forgiven. We are not perfect, and we have no works good enough for the Lord to save us accordingly.
Love the lost and the found equally. Because when the lost are found, you will be at their celebration! Be blessed! :o)