January 25, 2016
When she was a toddler my granddaughter had a toy cookie jar which burst into song whenever she dropped different shapes into matching holes in the jar. I heard that same song so often that the words are still lodged in my mind! Then one day she accidently knocked the switch in a different direction and the jar played a song we hadn’t heard before. That song was in the jar all along but we experienced no benefit because we were ignorant of the song’s availability. Now she had a choice of songs but she had to choose to flip the switch to hear the one she wanted.
This incident turned my thoughts to the older son in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. This parable is perhaps one of the best known stories Jesus told to illustrate the love of our Father in heaven for His lost children. To summarize, the younger son demands his inheritance from his father and journeys into a distant country where he squanders the money on licentious living. Eventually, destitute and ashamed, he returns to his father who receives him with open arms and throws a party to welcome him home.
The older son, however, is not so welcoming. We pick up the story at the party in Luke 15:28-31:
“But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.
So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have served you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat,that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
And he said to him, ‘Son you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”
What a tragedy! All those years the older son thought he had to work for his father’s love and approval. All those years he had misunderstood his father, seen him as distant, stingy and demanding. Oh, how his father’s heart must have ached over this boy beside him every day but as distant and lost as the younger boy in a far country.
The words “you are always with me and all that I have is yours” are linked to our position and possession in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 says:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
Ephesians 2:4-9 extends the thought:
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
The Greek word for saved in this quote is sōzō and means “to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literal or figurative):- heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.” *1
Similarly one of the words translated 65 times as salvation in the Old Testament is a Hebrew word meaning “something saved, i.e. (abstract)deliverance; hence aid, victory, prosperity; - deliverance, health, help(-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare.” *2
So then salvation includes not only deliverance from the penalty of sin (forgiveness and a ticket to heaven) but deliverance from the power of sin. In Jesus we have EVERYTHING to restore us and make us whole now. And how do we receive these blessings? By works? No, by faith and only by faith!
Perhaps, as I did for many years, you have thought that the full benefits of salvation are meant for the future when we get to heaven. Can you see that they are available to you now in relationship with Christ Jesus? However, just as my granddaughter had to flip the switch on the cookie jar and drop the shapes through the matching holes to get the music out of the jar, you must believe and accept this salvation for yourself.
The Father says to you, “You are always with me and all that I have is (present tense, right now) yours.”
“We then as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says:
‘In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.”
2 Corinthians 6:1-2
What is your response? Perhaps you hesitate. You so want the freedom of salvation but you have some doubts or fears. Then come before God with an honest, open heart and say, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24
Jesus assures us:
“ ‘The one who comes to Me, I will by no means (margin = certainly not) cast out.’ ” John 6:37
Come to Jesus. Come to Him now.
*1 #4982 Strong’s Greek Dictionary from Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance: ExpandedEdition. 2004 AMG publishers
*2 #3444 Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary Ibid