The kind of life everyone lives and their eternal destiny matter to God. In the Gospel of Luke, the Lord Jesus is seen in a conversation with the leaders of the temple (see Luke 15:1-32).
These leaders look on Jesus with mixed feelings. They couldn’t embrace Him fully. Why?
Jesus had association with just everybody and anybody, including the people society looked on as corrupt public officials, Tax Revenue Collectors and morally weak women and men.
Jesus was too much everybody’s friend. But to the Lord Jesus, “the Good News of the offer for close friendship with God” is for everyone.
So Jesus told the stories of “the lost sheep and the lost coin or golden jewelery” to the religious leaders who had questions on their mind regarding his association with all manner of people.
The loss of one sheep out of the 100 in the sheep pen required every effort to recover it. The one lost sheep was critically important to the owner. And every effort was made to recover the lost gold jewelery. Each recovery was marked with celebration and rejoicing.
Jesus now drives home the main lesson from the stories: “Similarly, the angels in the presence of God in Heaven celebrate and rejoice even when one sinner repents and returns to God”.
The salvation of every individual is important to God. The Bible says “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16 NLT.
In fact, Jesus was teaching on the value of a soul and the critical importance of the spiritual condition of every individual and their eternal destiny.
Next, the Lord Jesus tells the story of the lost son to further illustrate the importance of the soul of everyone, and that it always pleases God when one sinner repents and returns home to the father (see Luke 15:11-32).
We pick the key lessons from the story of the lost son.
First, everyone has the inclination to rebel against and go on to carry out life independent of God’s standard in the Bible. Of course, the consequences of this lifestyle only hurt us terribly.
We mess up so badly and are in need of being saved from despair and destruction. That rebellion grieves God. It is sin. The Bible says “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23 NLT.
Second, we are to repent and believe on Christ to save us. That is, repentance and faith are critically important elements for the salvation of a person.
In the narrative, Jesus tells us about the life of the lost son before repentance; he messes up and was in despair and how he repented; he came to his senses and resolved to get out of his terrible messy situation and go back home for help from his father.
After repentance and taking action to live differently, he went back to the Father and asked for forgiveness, and he experienced amazing welcome back home.
Third, rely on God’s grace alone to save you. The lost son repented and, with faith in the love of the father, he went back home. He was cleaned up with a fresh bath, had a new clean clothing of the finest robe put on him; a fresh ring of identity as a true child was put on him and beautiful sandals for his feet.
We must take note that he did not deserve any of the outpouring of the love of the father on him and each of the
beautiful things done for him and his total acceptance back as a true child who is still loved. And the celebration went on. Why?
“For your brother was dead, and has come back to life. He was lost, but now he is found”. The lost son came to his senses, acknowledged his worry; returned home, asked for forgiveness and experienced amazing “grace love” of the father.
The Bible says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2: 8-9 NIV. The following song sums it up well:
He (Jesus) paid the debt, He did not owe
And I owe the debt, I could not pay …
You cannot pay for salvation with fat offerings and when you sow big seeds of money donations.
Fourth, rejoicing and celebration follows genuine repentance and salvation. And guess who celebrates. Not only the person saved, but the angels in heaven celebrate the salvation of every individual. Jesus tells us this story so that we too who are lost children can return home!
Will you too rejoice in God’s unconditional love He pours on those who repent and put their trust in Him? Will you give cause to the angels to celebrate you? Welcome home!
God bless you.