In Luke 15:11-24, we read what Charles Dickens said is “the greatest short story in history.” Even if you don’t go to church on a regular basis, you have probably heard of the story of the Prodigal Son.
The word, “prodigal” means “recklessly extravagant.” And an old Scottish preacher said that the Prodigal Son found three phases in his journey away from the father’s house.
First of all, he was “sick of home.” Then he found himself being “homesick” and finally we see him being “home again.” He was not “Home Alone” because when he came to his senses, and returned to his father’s home, his father was standing there with open arms to receive him and a huge celebration began because the son was now home again.
What a picture of our Heavenly Father. Do you know the Prodigal Son journeyed into a “far country?” Do you know how far a “far country” is? It is right outside the Father’s will. When we step outside our Heavenly Father’s will for our lives, we have stepped into the far country for all practical purposes.
And what I love so much about our God is this: He allows us to go. He allows us to go if that is what we choose to do. Many times, we believe we are smarter than God. We know what’s best for our lives. But, like the TV show of yesteryear told us, “Father Knows Best.” Our Heavenly Father always knows what’s best for our lives, yet many times, we choose the other route instead of the path that God would have us to travel.
My question this week is this: Once we choose the alternate road, the road that goes against the will of God, then what? Do we acknowledge that we have sinned and continue on? Paul said it best, “God forbid.” God forbid that we continue on in our sinning ways. God wants us to repent, which means turning from what is sin and returning to God. It’s not a 360-degree turn (that would lead us right back to sin) but it is a 180-degree sin. We turn from sin and we turn to God.
I. John 1:9 tells us that when we do this, God forgives us of our sin and we continue on in is His fellowship. If we do not repent and turn from sin and turn back to God were we really His to begin with? I know there are carnal Christians in the world. They will get into Heaven “by the skin of their teeth” as the saying goes. They have no reward, no riches and only their salvation because after they were saved, they did nothing to honor God.
But what about the person who says they were saved at one point, begins to live the Christian life, and then turns from God and willingly turns to sin? They are told what they are doing is wrong, but continue to do so and refuse to repent and return to God. Were they saved to begin with? That’s a good question, isn’t it? A question that I am glad I don’t have to answer because I know that as long as we walk in the Light, Jesus is the Light, then He abides in us and we abide in Him and when the trumpet sounds, we shall meet Him in the clouds and then go on into Heaven with Him.
If I were deliberately living in sin, and I claimed to be a Christian, I would be concerned about my salvation. I would humble myself (that’s what the Prodigal Son did) and return to God before I took my next breath. That’s what I would do. What would you do?
And that is Something to Think About for this week.
Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.