Read Luke 15:20-24
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. (NLT)
The good news of the Christian faith defies logic. It is all about getting what we didn’t deserve. The lost son in this familiar story deserved a stern lecture at least, and getting kicked out of the family at most. Instead he got a party. No logic in that, no apparent justice in it either.
Especially if you were the older brother in the family! He lived in a world of people getting their just deserts, of having certain rights, of only getting what you work for. It was not the world of the Christian gospel. We have no rights to mercy and cannot do anything to earn it.
But grace is not about logic or even reason. This is why it is so hard for even longstanding Christians to grasp. We may preach about it, sing of it, discuss it, but letting it sink deep into our beings is so hard because it is so unnatural. The writer Philip Yancey puts it well:
If I care to listen, I hear a loud whisper from the gospel that I did not get what I deserved. I deserved punishment and got forgiveness. I deserved wrath and got love. I deserved debtor’s prison and got instead a clean credit history. I deserved stern lectures and crawl-on-your-knees repentance, and I got a banquet spread for me.
Grace truly is amazing.
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