Summary: THEME: Justifying grace
INTRODUCTION: All of us have experienced God’s amazing grace. Justifying grace is sometimes called “conversion” grace. It has been described as, “just-if-I-never-sinned.”
John Wesley described his experience of justifying grace as the “assurance” of salvation. On May 24, 1738, John Wesley wrote in his journal: “In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.”
Jesus gave a powerful illustration of justifying grace in the parable than Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. Let us consider the…
I. Consequences of his life (Separated from the Father).
He left the provision of his father's house. He requested and took his inheritance prior to the appointed time. He wasted what he had been given. He sank to the lowest point he had known.
II. Conviction of his life (Return to the Father).
"He came to himself!" Deep on the inside of each of us we have a desire survive. If we have a healthy relationship with our earthly father it is normal to want his approval. This young man felt convicted that he had blew it. Blew what? The material blessings from his father yes but more than that he blew the chance to make his father proud (or so he thought).
III. Conversion of his life (Justified by the Father).
His father welcomed him home with great joy! Whenever a sinner comes home to God there is great joy in heaven! The angels rejoice! And so should the church! Praise God for the conversion experience of a lost one being found!
The ring - sign of right standing with the father.
The robe - sign of the covering of the father and that the son was being treated as royalty.
The killing of the fatted calf - sign of provision, celebration, and feasting!
CONCLUSION: The effects of the prodigal son’s experience of justifying grace can be seen in two important parts of the story. The first took place in the pig pen, and the second took place upon his return home.
At the pig pen he became aware of his condition (conviction) and humbly repented. When he arrived home he received acceptance, love, and restoration from his father.
Justifying grace enables us to see ourselves clearly as sinners, provides us hope through surrendering to Christ, and the assurance that we are forgiven and loved by God.
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