When Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal Son, (Luke 15:11-32), He wasn’t just telling an interesting story to His listeners. He was showing them the truth of what happens when we become aware of our sin, repent of it, and ask for forgiveness. God the Father responds by clothing us in a garment of righteousness. This is an expression of His grace and love for us; even when we’re repenting of deliberate sin.
Righteousness means being brought into right relationship with God. The apostle Paul shows that this is only made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, He died to take the punishment of God that we deserved. Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 5:22, ‘God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God’.
When we come to recognise that, as it says in Romans 3:23, ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’, we realise we’re unholy in contrast to the holiness of God. The truth is that under God’s Law, ‘The soul that sins is the one that will die’ (Ezekiel 18:22). So Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans ‘the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23).
But Paul also is the one who wrote ‘There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit’ (Romans 8:1), and ‘Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes’ (Romans 10:4). This wonderful truth is also picked up by the apostle Peter, when he says of God that ‘He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9).
The whole principle of our forgiveness and eternal salvation begins with God, and is a fulfillment of the words of John 3:16-17; ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him’.
We have an amazing, wonderfully loving, and gracious God who’s done so much to bring us to the point where He can clothe us with the garment of righteousness and salvation. Let’s grasp this truth and declare, ‘hallelujah, praise the Lord!’
Prayer: O Lord God, I thank You for all that is mine as a forgiven sinner, through the sacrifice for sin made by Jesus. Thank You that through that sacrifice I’m now clothed in the robe of righteousness, and accepted as forgiven and cleansed from sin. Please help me to live the kind of life that shows others something of the wonder of this great salvation, I pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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