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Delivered from Sin, part 2
Now let’s get back to the story of the prodigal son. Luke 15:20 “So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” I just think that is the coolest picture of grace and mercy. There are three things that stick out in this verse. 1. The father saw him while he was still a long way off. That says to me that the Father was deliberately looking for his lost son. 2. When he saw him he was filled with compassion. He knew the son had left to squander his inheritance on wild living, and yet he had compassion. 3. He ran to him and kissed him.
This whole scene reminds me of James 4:8, where we read, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” As the prodigal drew near, God drew near with even more energy than the son had. I would imagine the son was a bit pensive about returning home because he was filled with guilt over what he had become involved with and yet, the father not only runs to him but kisses him. The first thing he says to his Father is: I have sinned. Luke 15:21 “The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” It’s human nature to struggle with our acceptance into the Father’s presence. Keep in mind, he says this after the Father ran to him, embraced him, and kissed him. That is how it seems to be with many of us. We know the Gospel, and we understand that God forgives, but we often struggle when it comes to enjoying the fullness of it. I wonder if it’s because we only understand one side of grace.
The two sides of grace are categorized this way; there is God’s side and there is our side.
Two Sides of Grace: God’s Side
“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” What made the difference between Cain’s offering and Abel’s was that Abel’s offering showed that he had a sense of the nature of the distance between God and the sinner. By faith he offered; he saw that nothing could meet God’s demand for the forgiveness of our sin short of a victim not chargeable with the offence. (That’s what Jesus was: a victim not chargeable with sin.)
Cain knew that God and man were not on good terms, but he thought that by bringing the fruits of the earth he might repair the breach and restore the relationship between God and man. But his offering was not accepted.
Abel had a greater sense of the nature of the distance between God and man and therefore he offered a lamb. The Bible does not say that God told him to do this; it says Abel did it by faith. Abel cut off fat portions from the lamb and offered them as a burnt offering. He saw that a victim not chargeable with his offence must bear the judgment of his offence, which was death. The fat of the lamb, which was considered the most blessed part of the sacrifice, could only be gotten through the shedding of blood - and God accepted it. It would seem that Cain’s offering represents man attempting through his own labor to become acceptable to God. His offering contained no death, subsequently, no blood was shed. It was not an acceptable offering. Cain’s offering also contained no faith. It was a works offering. In other words, Cain hoped he could get into God’s good graces through being good enough. Abel’s offering was accepted because it was offered in faith that the lamb’s blood was sufficient.
Medication (because laughter is the best medicine) Little Susie: "I don't want to eat this squash." Mommy: "But it's good for you, darling." Little Susie: "But I don't LIKE it!" Mommy: "You like pretending. Why don't you pretend it's ice cream?" Little Susie: "Why can't I just pretend it's gone?" God Bless,
Pastor Brad Verse of the week: James 2:26 Today's Bible reading(s): Jeremiah 1 - 3