It would really help you if you’ve already read part 1 – here: http://wp.me/p11Olz-8k
In Luke 15 Jesus tells a story about what I call the prodigal brothers…
Two sons struggling to accept their father’s love. One rebels, comes home and finds a loving embrace and a party in his honour; one stays behind, does everything right and gets grumpy at his brother’s welcome back party, never understanding that he’d had his father’s love, acceptance and approval the whole time.
Both brothers were far off, because either from a distance or up close, neither brother could truly see the father as he really was.
Firstly, let’s pause and ask ourselves; “Did Jesus tell this story to educate the people, or to expose an ugly, impure heart condition?”
A condition that blinds us to what Jesus most wanted us to see…
The true heart of the Father.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matt 5:8)
Once we deal with the impurities in our heart, we can then see Father for who He really is.
In this story, what exposes the blinded heart in both brothers was that neither of them expected younger brother to get clemency. (YB from this point so I don’t die from RSI)
Because the orphan heart works on the premise that; “If I do X, then I deserve X.”
It’s a deeds based paradigm.
YB thought that the appropriate response from the father regarding his rebellion would be a demotion from sonship to hired help.
Older brother (OB) thought that clemency for YB was completely inappropriate, and that there should have been a party for himself instead, because OB was the one who stayed home and worked hard.
Religion = ‘Hard work deserves Love.’
Religion = ‘Reform deserves Clemency.’
I see this in paradigm at work in the media right now regarding Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
The common cry is; “These men have reformed, so they deserve clemency.”
I’m all for clemency, and think the executions of Andrew & Myuran will be such a waste!
(Haven’t enough Australians already lost their lives in Bali?)
But clemency because of reform is NOT the message of Christ.
Christ offered us clemency before we reformed…
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)
YB didn’t walk up that driveway a reformed man!
An unreformed man got clemency.
This is grace!
Father’s whole paradigm is grace.
And it’s Father’s grace that becomes their stumbling block.
“But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” (1Cor 1:23)
Grace is the great stumbling block Paul is describing. We just can’t truly get our heads around it.
Here’s an example…
In his book ‘Love Wins’ Rob Bell pushes all our religious buttons when he proposes the question; “If God’s heart is that none would be lost, what if at the end of the day, God gets what God wants?”
Let’s put theology aside here (OB’s I’m talking to you)
Seriously… Car Park the theology
I want to tap into your heart space here…
What if, when you show up in heaven, all your mates are there including Charles Manson, Hitler, Osama Bin Laden and other less desirables?
Even the Indonesian President Joko Widodo?
How do you feel about that?
Honestly, how do you really feel about that?
Doesn’t that just push some buttons?
What if you get to heaven and find the WHOLE WORLD has been saved?
I was chatting with someone a while back who was repulsed by this idea, and felt that Rob Bell was a heretic…
I couldn’t help but ponder the question, “Why isn’t this good news to you?”
The only reason we could possibly believe that the idea of the whole human race being saved was not good news, is because somewhere deep in our hearts we equate our own salvation with our own goodness.
The same way we equate Hitler’s damnation with Hitler’s badness.
This is why grace is such a stumbling block!
Your relationship with the Lord is entirely based in His goodness, and has nothing to do with your goodness!
Or your reform…
Let that one land!
This story is not about OB’s goodness or YB’s badness, but about father’s love and grace.
‘Your Goodness’ is a wild goose chase, and the birthplace of religion.
And when we build frameworks around our own goodness and reform, we’re in all sorts of trouble.
Or we’re in church 🙂
So how do you feel about the clemency that’s on offer to you?