Excerpt from a Sermon (Luke 15:11-32)

This Parable is often referred to as the Prodigal Son, which seems to connote that the Prodigal’s brother and father are minor characters. But brothers and sisters, there are no minor characters in this parable and especially in life…

In the father, we learn grace. We come into contact with the personification of grace. And brothers and sisters, I want to be clear: Grace doesn’t need a problem to be grace. Grace doesn’t need a problem to be grace. Grace doesn’t need sin. God’s grace is grace whether or not human beings sin. God doesn’t need sin in order to be gracious. Grace does not depend on sin. I say this because many (well-meaning) Christians have a habit of making God’s grace mechanical and turn salvation into a recipe. The first thing added to the recipe of salvation was sin (the problem) and so then God needed to add some large helpings of grace (the solution) in order to make salvation work. But just like you don’t put sugar into iced tea after its brewed in order to make southern sweet tea–you have to put the sugar in while the tea is hot and the water is boiling–we should never act like God’s grace comes only after we sin.

Check the parable. Grace was there when the father gave the younger son his inheritance. Grace was there when the youngest son returns and the father welcomed him back. Remember what the youngest son said, even his father’s hired hands had bread to spare. So his father was even gracious to those who weren’t his children. Grace was there when the father talked with the oldest son and invited him into the party personally. The father met both children outside his home. The father reminded his eldest son that everything he had belonged to the oldest son already. Grace doesn’t need a problem to be grace. God does not need us to be unlovable in order to love us.

The world needs more free, unmerited, and spontaneous grace. Cheap, expensive, conditional, and mechanical grace is a recipe for a limp salvation and ultimately death.

Let the hearers hear and the readers read…

Faith Hope and Love

© 2016 M. J. Sales

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