Mercy and Grace | Day Nine

By: Kate Downing | Grace That Forgives

Have you ever felt like you are too far gone—like you’ve failed too many times to be forgiven? Whether you feel like your sin is too big or you’ve already asked for forgiveness too many times, the feeling of being unforgivable is one we all face at some point in our lives. 

Today, we are going to look at the story of a man who felt this way. This is a story many of us will be able to relate to because it is a story of grace that forgives! 

Like always, take the next minute to pray. Thank the Lord for the privilege of reading the Bible. Ask Him to speak to you through His Word today as you look at what it means to be forgiven!

Warning, we are about to read a hunk (that’s a technical measurement :) ) of verses and then break it down into smaller sections. 


Read Luke 15:11-24.

 This is the story of the prodigal (lost) son. Jesus shared this parable with His followers in order to teach them an important lesson about the relationship between God and His children. When we become saved (like we talked about yesterday), we become daughters of God (Romans 8:15-17). The story of the prodigal son is a beautiful picture of someone being forgiven of their sin and welcomed into the family of God. It is also a beautiful picture of grace being shown to those who have been saved, adopted into the family, and yet have walked away from God. 

Read verses 11-13 again.

When the younger son demanded for His father to give him his share of the estate, he was asking for his inheritance. He was literally saying to his father, “you are as good as dead to me. I only want your money, then I’m out of here.” 

How do you think the father felt about this?  Write down some words that describe the emotions the father probably felt about his son’s selfish and hurtful words and actions. 

Read verses 14-16. Draw a picture of what this man’s life had come to.

 

Read verses 17-19.

The man finally realized that the “what if” of admitting his sin and returning to his father could never be worse than remaining where he was. 

The truth is, this might be exactly where you are today. You probably aren’t sitting in a pigpen desperately eating pig food just to survive, but you might emotionally or spiritually be where this man found himself. He walked away from his father, ignored and mistreated him, and now was lonely, hungry, and desperate. 

Often times, the temptation to walk away from God to do what “feels good” or looks fun seems too great to resist. When we fall for these lies of our enemy, we find ourselves in the same emotional and spiritual state as the son in this story. He was lonely, desperate, and most likely incredibly embarrassed for his actions. He understood he did not deserve to be forgiven by his father, but was willing to try to return because nothing could be as bad as remaining where he was.

Can your relate to the son?  Do you understand what it means to be desperate for forgiveness but fully aware that you don’t deserve it? Even as children of God, we have the choice to obey and honor Him or go our own way.  We can easily find ourselves far from God.  But, let me tell you, YOU ARE NOT TOO FAR!!  If you can relate to the son, be assured, God is the father from this story!

 Read verses 20-23.

What decision did the son have to make in verse 20?  

 

The son had to decide to return. He had to humble his pride and make the journey back to his father’s house. The same is true for you today. You must decide to return!  It takes humility, but it is well worth it!

How did the father physically respond to the son’s return in verse 20?

 

Culturally at this time, it would have been unheard of and shameful for a distinguished man to run. This makes it all the more significant that the father began to run toward his son! He saw him “a long way off,” dropped what he was doing and bolted as fast as he could. This is an incredible picture of the kind of grace God desires to give you if you would only return to Him! 

What are some words to describe the father’s emotions toward his son returning?

 

Read verse 24. What does the father call the son in this verse? 

 

It is incredibly significant that though the son wished his father dead, ignored him, and dishonored him, he never had been disowned as a son. No matter how poorly he treated his father, he never lost his place in the father’s family! 

In what ways have you walked away from God? 

 

Whether you feel like you’ve walked away from your Heavenly Father in big or small ways, there is no hope or joy in remaining where you are. It is only by returning to your Father and repenting of your sin (making a 180 degree turn away from you sin), that you can experience the grace that God desires to lavish upon you! He is like the father in this story, waiting, longing for you to return! You are still His daughter, and He longs to receive you back into a right relationship with Him! He died for your sins past, present, and future. He has already forgiven them. He simply calls you to return to Him!

Write out a prayer confessing the ways you have walked away from God. Thank Him for paying for those sins long ago on the cross. And thank Him for accepting you back into a right relationship with Him in the same way the father welcomed the lost son!