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Grace for the Rebellious and the Religious

“Our assurance is anchored in the love and grace of God expressed in the glorious exchange: our sin for His righteousness.”

Tullian Tchividjian

Recently I studied Luke 15:11-32, the passage known as the prodigal son. I was impressed with the contrast between the two sons, whom I will call the rebellious and the religious. Please take some time now and read through those verses.

The younger, or rebellious son was disobedient. He took his inheritance, left home and squandered it on reckless living. He wasted what his father gave him and used the money on sinful behavior. His provisions ran out, making him hungry, desperate, and humiliated. He didn’t feel worthy to be his father’s son. In humility and with a repentant heart, this son decided to return home to his father.

The older son was obedient, stayed home, and worked for his dad. He performed every duty his father requested. Even though he lacked nothing and had full supply of all that his dad owned, he didn’t realize what was at his fingertips and he squandered his sonship. Instead of embracing his inheritance, he tried to earn a place in his father’s heart. When he discovered his dad threw a party in celebration of his younger brother’s return, he became angry and refused to celebrate. His prideful, self-righteous arrogance resulted in judgmental accusations.

I tend to resemble the elder son, one who wants to perform, follow all the rules, and in the end, become judgmental of others. Who do you most identify with – the younger, rebellious son, or the older, religious son? It doesn’t matter which one you relate to, both are in need of grace and both sons needed to receive forgiveness from their loving and compassionate father.

Likewise, our Heavenly Father is the same toward us. When we’re in need of forgiveness and grace, He is there to supply. “The father said, ‘My son, you are always with me by my side. Everything I have is yours to enjoy.’” (Luke 15:31, Passion Translation) In spite of our rebellious or religious nature, our Daddy extends His generous gift of grace.

“Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try and find something or someone that it cannot cover. Grace is enough.”

Brennan Manning

Relevant Reflection:

Which son do you most identify with in this parable? Spend time thanking God for His generous gift of grace.

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