Thursday, January 12, 2012

Portraits of Forgiveness (Part 3)

Earlier we had said that there were three different types of hearts represented here in Luke 15. We have seen the repentant heart of the son. Now we want consider the forgiving heart of the father.

A Forgiving Heart: It is the father in this story who represents the unexpected forgiving heart of God in response to genuine repentance that is marked by at least four things.
  • Hopeful anticipation. The father never gave up hoping for his son's repentance and return home to be restored to him again. He was persevering in prayer and intently looking for the day he saw the familiar form of his son on the horizon (v20). Th hopeful yearning for restoration was never quenched in the heart of the father.
  • Courageous love. The father was willing to humble himself and not conform to the culture mandate of his day to make his son grovel in the dirt. Instead, in a spontaneous, jubilant act of love, he ran to embrace his son (v20).
  • Gracious mercy. Forgiveness was joyfully granted because he sensed the repentance in the heart of his son, and restored him to a position of son-ship that was unheard of (v22).
  • Celebration of repentance. The father planned a party to celebrate the return of his son. His son was heading in a direction that brought distance to their relationship and certainly interrupted their fellowship, but now was alive and reconciled to his father (v23-24).
This is a beautiful picture of the forgiving heart of God. God was the first Seeker in the Bible (Gen. 3:8-9) and now in the Person of His Son still seeks the lost (Luke 19:10). God is a loving God who is waiting to be restore to those that are at a distance from Him. God is rich in mercy and grace, and great in His love toward those that are away from Him (Eph. 2:1-10). God is able and willing to forgive you today, whether you are lost in your sins and need to be reconciled to Him or whether you might be at a distance from Him because even though you might be a Christian you have allow sin of one kind or another in your life and need to return to Him in repentance. He is waiting, will you come to Him now?

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