Unfortunately, when The Prodigal Son parable is read by believers today, they relate to it, and apply it to themselves when they mess up or are not mindful of God. But this parable is not about you, as a believer.
What you have from God is secured by Jesus, therefore it is forever. Jesus died for all your sins forever, so that He could secure you in an eternal inheritance that does not fluctuate day-to-day. Everything that you have, and all that you are, never changes because it is secured through the sacrifice of Jesus forever.
Hebrews 9:12, 15 (NKJV) …having obtained eternal redemption… that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 10:14 (KJV) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
These verses say that you are eternally redeemed from sin, eternally blessed with an inheritance, and you have been perfected forever. And yet when believers mess up or haven’t been mindful of God recently, they feel that something has changed for them or that they have “strayed from God” or are “backslidden.”
Straying From God
If you sin or haven’t meditated on the Lord as much as you should have recently, you haven’t strayed from God! All the contrary. God has not only been with you this entire time (Hebrews 13:5), but your relationship with Him has not changed a bit. It is secured through the cross, not by your works!
Romans 5:10 (NKJV) …when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…
But you say, “I agree that God has never left me, but I strayed from Him in my mind.“ Here’s the truth: Your relationship with God hasn’t changed a bit. God isn’t angry with you (Isaiah 54:9), you’re completely forgiven, and God has been with you the whole time. You and God are tight because Jesus made it that way forever! If you haven’t been mindful of Him, that’s not called “straying from God.” I think the term you’re searching for is, “You forgot.“ That can certainly happen! You’re rich and you forgot. You’re blessed and you forgot. You’ve been loved and you forgot. You didn’t stray from God or walk away from Him. That’s hard to do when He’s with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).
As far as backsliding is concerned, this is not a word that is ever used in the Bible for a Christian. The word “backsliding” in the King James Version is just the word for “turning away or turning back.” It’s a reference that was especially used for Israel in their forsaking the gospel.
There’s no such thing as a Christian being in a so-called “backslidden state.” The church has applied this to Christians, but God never has. A Christian can forget who they are at times, but they are not those that have forsaken the gospel.
God’s Blessing And Provision
And to add insult to injury, not only do we believe Christians can stray from God and be in a “backslidden” state, but we also teach people that when they do so, they are somehow cutting them self-off from the blessings and provision of God. This is why so many Christians relate to the prodigal son, wandering off, in poverty, feeding the pigs.
This notion that when you sin or step out of the will of God, you somehow walk out of His blessing or provision, is just a sneaky way of saying that you receive by your works. And we know that’s not right! If the blessings of God are dependent on our works, why did Jesus have to come? Jesus is the reason why you can access God‘s blessings, not your works.
Romans 5:2 (NKJV) through whom [Jesus] also we have access by faith into this grace…
Romans 11:6 (NKJV) And if by grace, then it is no longer of works…
So, let’s get all this straight: Our relationship with God is unchanged, our closeness with God is unchanged, our forgiveness is unchanged, our perfection is unchanged, and our inheritance is unchanged. It’s all eternally secured by Jesus’ work, not by your own. So why do we relate to the parable of The Prodigal Son? Why do we feel we have to be restored in some way, or taken back by the Father in some way?
The parable of The Prodigal Son is a parable about someone getting saved for the first and only time. It’s not a parable about a believer and not something that ever gets repeated. You were that prodigal son that was far off, but when you first believed on Jesus, the Lord received you and you’ve been just as close to Him ever since. If you forgot, then simply remember.
The party never stopped. Your closeness with the Father never changed. The only thing that changed was perhaps your realization of it. But I assure you, that’s all that has changed, because thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice, you’re stuck in the goodness and mercy of God forever!
Psalms 23:6 (KJV) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
This is only the second part in a series. We will go deeper into this parable in the next part, so keep reading! You don’t want to miss it.
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