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Child of the Covenant of Grace,
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3.14, 15 Nothing will separate you from the love of Christ, from My love which is in Christ Jesus your Lord. Romans 8.35-39
Look at a Father's love, in the story Jesus told in Luke 15. The younger son wanted his inheritance before the Father's death. He wanted his Father dead. He rejected the Father and ran off in rebellion. After a time he lost money, friends, reputation, self-respect, dignity, inner joy and peace. He became lonely and isolated because of his greed to have it all now. Then he came to his senses, prepared his case, and returned home, knowing that even the hired servants had plenty to spare. Observers watched. What did the servants think?
The elder son was out working in the field. The Father had run out to meet his younger son. His heart was filled with compassion, no distance, fear, or suspicion. The son gave his prepared speech, but the Father called for the signs of freedom-the best robe (honor), a ring (the ring of inheritance), and shoes (prestige). He ordered a feast of abundance (tabernacles), all this for the younger son.
The elder son resented the big celebration when he heard all the music and dancing. He asked a servant what was going on. He got angry and wouldn't go in. The Father stopped and came out to his elder son to entreat him to join in the celebration. The elder son, however, was jealous, complained, and could not receive. No party had ever been given for him. He had obeyed and been the dutiful son. What is this?
The Father had his own interpretation. Full of compassion, his love for each son was personalized. He had let the younger son go because he wanted his love received freely. His love is giving and his forgiveness spontaneous. So the Father waits, wanting to bless. He told his elder son, "Son you are ever with me, and all that I have is yours. It was fitting that we should celebrate and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again. He was lost and now is found." (Luke 15.31, 32)
The lesson? Choose to live in anticipation of the full manifestation of the Father's glory; not as a slave or servant, not as a rebellious or resentful son, but as a true son and heir. Share in the grief, the sorrow, the sufferings, and the glory. Be like Him, love like Him, be and do good like Him. Show mercy and compassion like He does. Be forgiving and generous. A Father's love.
The lesson of shoes.
Being barefoot indicates poverty and sometimes slavery. Shoes are for the wealthy and powerful. Shoes offer protection, give safety and strength. Shoes turn the hunted into the hunter. Getting shoes is a benchmark experience.
The best robe.
The Father would clothe us with the best robe, a robe of honor. Garments indicate who you are. Garments told people whether someone was a leper or blind, rich or poor. Our Father clothes us with righteousness, with a garment of praise, with the armor of Himself. Our Father clothes us with His glory and His favor encompasses us like a shield.
The ring indicates restoration to inheritance. This is the mystery of homecoming. The ring tells others what family you are in. The ring was used as a sign and seal for important documents. The ring was like a power of attorney. Whoever had the king's ring or the emperor's ring carried his authority, provision, and protection.
Christ is the heir of the Father, the true Son, the Elder Brother. He could have resented the Father's attitude toward prodigals, but He does not. Instead He laid down His life for their reconciliation to the Father and shares His inheritance as the Firstborn Son. All that the Father has belongs to Christ. The Father is always with Him. And now the same is true for the true sons of God.
If you are a prodigal, come to your senses, come home, and come to your Father. He's waiting for you. Luke 15.11-32
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