“It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
The more keenly the ruin of sin is felt, the higher value grace is given - we must not think of ourselves as those who have been forgiven little, lest we love little. We must know, regardless of degree, we have enough personal sin to condemn us to Hell. We must not think, as the elder brother in our text, that we have deserved the celebration of the “fatted calf.”
We must be as the prodigal, certain we do not deserve our Father’s gracious reception in any way. The ‘hogpen of sin’ was a reality in each of our lives, for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We all have been there, some have been there longer than others have, some got there quicker, but make no mistake about it, the stench of it was on us all. We cannot claim merit; we can only plead mercy. There can be no ‘fatted calf’ slain, nor robe brought, nor shoes for our feet, nor ring for our finger, as long as we believe we deserve them. There can be no celebration for the person who thinks he has never departed the Father’s House. The person who boasts of his own faithfulness and points to his own labor will never understand grace and mercy.
Men like to compare themselves favorably to those they consider less deserving; the evidence of that attitude is a strong tendency to judge others. We have been given freedom to judge ourselves, but forbidden to judge others, instead of doing that, however, we choose to judge others, while trying to justify our own actions. This will not bring grace, for “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” “We must humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt us in due time.”
No person realizes how wonderful and amazing grace is, as long as he believes he is being rewarded for his good works and faithful service.
There is certainly a reward to be earned and a crown to be received by those who have labored faithfully, but that is not to be saved, but because we are saved. We labor as believers who serve, desiring to please the Lord. There is no place for pride in the believer’s life, and we must not give it a place. We must ‘love much’ as the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with her expensive ointment. A woman who was a sinner, but, one saved by grace, and manifested great love to the Redeemer of her soul.
In His amazing grace,