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Delivered from Sin, part 4
The prodigal son may have said to his Father, “It’s wonderful that you can receive me as your son, but I cannot enjoy it because I am not fit for you.” This is the dilemma many Christians face. They accept the fact that they are forgiven and yet somehow believe they are not fit for the presence of God as they are and so they maintain a legalistic approach to life in an effort to prove their worthiness. The father responds to the son by saying, “I will make you fit, I will give you a new robe to wear.” Fitness for heaven cannot be accomplished by any perfection of our flesh or nature, it is something that only God can provide.
We just looked at God’s side and that’s that we are accepted by Him. Our side of grace is to learn how to enjoy the acceptance we have with God. If we look back to Enoch, we will see our side of this issue of grace. Enoch is the seventh generation from Adam. However, before the seventh generation is allowed to pass away, God brings out the wonderful testimony that He will bring a man out of death and that in fact man can escape the penalty of death.
The Bible says that Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death. If we go back and count the genealogies, all the fathers except Adam were still alive and subsequently witnesses to Enoch’s rapture. He walked with God for 300 years enjoying the freedom he had.
And that is in principle that the Father of the prodigal son was trying to make clear to the prodigal. He was already reconciled. He could not be on better terms with his father. The father had attempted to show his love and acceptance of his son by running to him and kissing him, yet he did not feel free to enjoy the love, because he did not feel fit. He was not yet free from himself. He says, “I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.” This is a much more difficult lesson to learn than the first one. We tend to accept the fact that God loves us – but we tend not to believe we are fit for the Kingdom. It’s interesting to note that the Gospel of John in Chapters 3 & 4 do not deal much with justification or reconciliation, which is God’s acceptance of us, but rather it deals with the idea of us enjoying our reconciliation. Subsequently when the Lord comes to the woman of Samaria, before He said a word about her sins He said, John 4:14 “Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” The point Jesus was making is that a person can be free to enjoy the liberty of our acceptance with God. Not all believers are in liberty to simply enjoy their redemption. Though they believe in their own salvation they still tend to believe they need to bring their flesh under before they can be accepted. Usually that ends up in a legalistic lifestyle. Do you remember our opening verses in this study? Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” God wants us to experience full rights as Sons of God. What brought the prodigal son into a sense of full rights as a son? It was that the old clothes were being taken away and that he was given a new robe to wear. Directly after the prodigal said, “I am not worthy of you, father.” The father said, in Luke 15:22-24 “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Do you see the immediacy of the Father’s response to the son believing he was not fit? “Quick,” The father said, “Bring the best robe and put it on him.” The Gospel is acceptance. It means that God has put away everything in the death of Christ. It means that He can accept us in the Beloved, and the Holy Spirit has been given to testify of that very fact. The problem is that people can accept that without still being able to get free, because they harbor the shame of past sins. It hangs on them like a noose.
Medication (because laughter is the best medicine) 3 Kick Rule... A big city California lawyer went duck hunting in rural Texas. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field on the other side of a fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing. The litigator responded, "I shot a duck and it fell in this field, and now I'm going into retrieve it." The old farmer replied. "This is my property, and you are not coming over here." The indignant lawyer said, "I am one of the best trial attorneys in the U.S. and, if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take everything you own." The old farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you don't know how we do things in Texas. We settle small disagreements like this with the Texas Three Kick Rule." The lawyer asked, "What is the Texas Three Kick Rule?" The farmer replied, "Well, first I kick you three times and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth, until someone gives up." The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom. The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the city feller. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy work boot into the lawyer's groin and dropped him to his knees. His second kick landed square on the man's nose. The barrister was flat on his belly when the farmer's third kick to a kidney nearly caused him to give up. The lawyer summoned every bit of his will and managed to get to his feet and said, "Okay, you old coot, now it's my turn!" The old farmer smiled and said, "Naw, I give up. You can have the duck." God Bless,
Pastor Brad Verse of the week: James 2:26 Today's Bible reading(s): Jeremiah 7 - 9