Accepted, Received, Embraced by a Good Father

We live in a world filled with people who shoulder feelings of relational isolation, conflict and guilt. We all have felt that weight and some of us feel it as it relates to our parents.

My earthly dad died in January. He had been sick for years. My dad loved me in many ways and I’m a product of some of his wonderful aspects. But, we didn’t always see eye to eye. If I’m honest, in addition to the positive marks he left, there were also wounds. I feel I’ve had a similar affect on my children. It’s true for all of us. Through the years my dad and I sorted all that out and talked it through. He realized his shortcomings, as do I. At his death, we had nothing that separated us. We were restored and living free from things that can tarnish relationships—guilt, unresolved hurt, conflict, and stubborn resistance to forgive or request forgiveness.

This topic highlights another amazing facet of the Gospel found in Jesus Christ: the good news of reconciliation. As freeing as it is to have a reconciled relationship with family members and friends, it’s more powerful that we can have that with God. In Jesus, our family connection to our heavenly Father is made right—because of His goodness and forgiveness.

This truth is revealed in Luke 15 in the parable Jesus told about two sons and their forgiving father. When the younger son soberly returns from a party binge, having lost his inheritance and dignity, he receives a celebration because of the love of his father—the same love we experience in the Gospel of reconciliation:

“So he got up and went to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate’” (Luke 15:20-23 NIV).

Paul puts it another way in Romans 5:1-2:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (NIV).

What feelings do these words elicit? What is your response to the good news of a relationship made right with a loving Father, who is the maker of the heavens and the earth?

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