Rudy Ross concludes his study of the End Times on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel today. My blog article continues a theme of living in union with God.
A Vision of Union
In the High Priestly Prayer, Jesus asked the Father to grant us a special union with the Father and Son.
— John 17.26 – “I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Imagine that! Jesus prayed that we may experience the same love that exists between the Father and Son.
He ends his prayer with these words, “And I in them.”
The Holy Spirit is not mentioned in the prayer, but Jesus lives within us through the Holy Spirit.
Followers of Jesus are more than just forgiven sinners who go to church and live good lives. We are destined to live in a profound love relationship with the Trinity and the experience of union with the Holy Spirit.
The Prodigal Son
Jesus told the Parable of the Prodigal Son to encourage people who are distant from God to come home.
God never planned for humans to take the gift of life and squander it with reckless living. It breaks the Father’s heart to see his creation end up in the hog pen of life.
Repentance is a “tool” that God provides his children, so we can come home to a loving relationship with him.
You will recall the parable.
— The Hog Pen – After the Prodigal squandered all he had, he found himself in a rock bottom situation and starving in a hog pen (Luke 15.15-17).
— Coming Home – The Prodigal engaged in self-talk and humbly returned home, willing to be a servant (Luke 15.18-21).
— Welcome Home – The loving relationship that was always available to the Prodigal became a reality (Luke 15.22-24).
This parable is very popular because nearly everyone can identify with the plight of the Prodigal.
The love relationship and union that Jesus prayed for humans is pictured in story form with the parable. Let’s not lose sight of the magnificent opportunity to genuinely live in a profound relationship with God.
Psalm 51 – A Lesson in Repentance
Repentance restores a broken relationship. It allows all prodigal children of God to come home to a relationship with him.
King David’s prayer is the best model prayer of repentance in the Bible. I recommend that people personalize this prayer on a regular basis.
Remember, the reason why we repent is to return to union with God so that we can live in love with him.
— Psalm 51.1
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
The character of our loving heavenly Father is defined by steadfast love (grace) and mercy. We come to him, as a loving Father, not a tyrant or fierce judge.
Like the father of the Prodigal, he will forgive our sincere repentance and envelop us in his love.
— Psalm 51.3
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
When we transgress, we willingly step over a line that we know we shouldn’t. Transgression involves exerting our will against that of God.
Repentance is not genuine until we recognize our rebellion and admit our guilt.
— Psalm 51.9
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Iniquity describes our inside condition, where we determine to live according to self-will. All sin and transgression begin with iniquity – a thought, emotion, or decision to chose our own path opposed to God.
Before the Prodigal Son had the courage to ask his father to give him his inheritance, he thought it out. That inner conversation (iniquity) produced the sin that landed him in the hog pen.
When he humbly came home, his father blotted out his iniquities and celebrated his return.
Jesus told the Parable of the Prodigal Son to inform us that God will affirmatively answer the prayer of Psalm 51.9.
— Psalm 51.11-12
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.
The ultimate purpose of repentance is not to “wipe the slate clean,” so we can get a fresh start and do a little better.
Repentance is a “tool” that returns us to God’s presence and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Repentance takes us beyond the idea of salvation as a “ticket to heaven” when we die. Repentance restores us to the love relationship with God that he has destined us to experience.
Try Thinking Like This
I hope readers of my blog will remind themselves that union with God is his plan for our lives.
May the image of living in God’s love and union with the Spirit help shape our behavior.
Rudy Ross returns again to a discussion of the Parable of the Fig Tree in today’s YouTube video. Please take 11 minutes to learn from a man who has spent years studying this topic.
The video is on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.