The Gospel of Luke ~ Chapter 15:20-21 ~ The Parable of the Prodigal Son, Part 4; Principles of Repentance & the Loving & Forgiving Father ~ The Repentant Must Confess Their Sins to God the Father for Restoration ~ We Confess Our Sins to God in Faith, as He Meets Us on the Road to Recovery.

Vol. 19, No. 38 – October 4, 2020

10 4 20 Luke 15 vs 20-21 Prodigal Son Pt 4The Gospel of Luke
Chapter 15

c. The Parable of the Prodigal Son, vs. 11-31, (continued).

Vs. 20

Luke 15:20, “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

In the first half of this passage, we saw that thought turns into action for the truly humble and repentant heart. In the second half of our verse, it shifts from the viewpoint of the repentant son to the viewpoint of the loving and forgiving father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him,” which for “a long way off,” uses the Adverb MAKRAN, “far, far off, or distant,” that can denote a sense of distance both spatially (space) and temporally (time), figuratively and literally. The Greeks used it as a preposition to mean “far away from someone or something.” In the NT it often reveals the removal of the separation between God and the individual, as we see in this parable. For example, a scribe is said to be not far from the kingdom of God, Mark 12:34; According to Acts 17:27, God is “not far from every one of us.”; And, in Eph 2:13, 17 the Gentiles who were once “far off” from God have been brought near and united to those Jewish Christians from whom they had been separated. Therefore, this means that even before the act of confession, when the son and father were still apart physically, which is analogues for being apart spiritually, we see that they are being brought together.

With this we have the Present, Active, Participle, Genitive of Separation of the Verb APECHO that indicates that something is distant from something else. Interestingly, we see this verb used in three ways:

1) In classical Greek, APECHO was at times used as a technical term for “having received payment in full of an outstanding debt.” Our Lord used it this way in a negative context in Luke 6:24; Mat 6:2, 5, 16, for the legalistic hypocrites and arrogant rich who received their reward in full. Yet here, it gives the understanding of the father’s attitude of forgiveness of the son’s debt as being paid in full.

2) It is also used in the NT, to refer to abstaining from sin, Acts 15:20; 1 Thes 4:3; 5:22; 1 Tim 4:3; 2 Peter 2:11. So, from that usage we see the son’s attitude of repenting from his past sins and determining to not sin in the future, thereby reconciling with his father.

3) In our passage, it also speaks literally of the distance between these two men, the gap of which the father was about to close.

So, from these three applications of the word APECHO, along with the added emphasis of the Adverb MAKRAN, related to our relationship with God the Father, we see that:

1) When we confess our sins, the payment for the sin has been paid in full, (as we know at the Cross of Jesus Christ), therefore we have experientially received forgiveness of those sins.

2) When we confess our sins, it is a proclamation of our repentance; that we are removing ourselves from the sin and sinful actions with the desire to abstain from sinning going forward.

3) When we confess our sins, the gap in our relationship with God the Father experientially is removed, and we are entered into fellowship with Him once again.

Next, we note that even when the repentant young man was still a long way off, “his father saw him.” This tells us by analogy that even when we are still a long way off from God our Father due to our sins, He “sees,” EIDON, “saw, perceived, etc.,” us well before we fully recover. In other words, God sees our process of discipline, repentance, and recovery long before we do.

Then, knowing what his son had gone through and of his repentant heart, (in this case, because of the wisdom of the father when he saw his son return), the father, “felt compassion for him.” Com-passion,” is the Aorist, Passive, Indicative of the Verb SPLANCHNIZOMAI, σπλαγχνίζομαι that means, “have compassion, feel sympathy, or have mercy,” which we have noted in Luke 7:13; 10:33. It speaks of the compassion one has for another when seeing the other in dire straits, Mat 18:27; Luke 10:33.

Mat 18:27, “And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.”

Luke 10:33, “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion.”

Our Lord also displayed His compassion of other as He was always willing to extend His merciful touch to all, Mat 9:36; 14:14; Luke 7:13.

Mat 9:36, “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.”

Mat 14:14, “When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.”

Luke 7:13, “When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep”.”

Therefore, this is analogues for God the Father knowing what we are going through and our heart of repentance leading Him to have “compassion” for us and motivating Him to act on our behalf. Here, it is describing human emotions in the strongest of terms in order to bring out the totality of mercy with which God has towards the repentant sinner.

As a result of the father’s compassion for his repentant son, he too takes a mental attitude thought and turns it into an action, as he “ran and embraced him and kissed him,” which are the Verbs TRECHO, “run, strive to advance, exert effort, make progress,” the Verb EPIPIPTO, “fall upon, approach eagerly, or come upon,” with EPI AUTOS HO TRACHELOS, “upon his neck or throat,” and the Verb KATAPHILEO, “to kiss affectionately or repeatedly,” with AUTOS, “him.” KATAPHILEO is a compound word for emphasis from KATA, “according to,” and PHILEO, “affectionate or familial love,” cf. Luke 7:38; Acts 20:37. Each Verb is in the Aorist tense to view the entirety of the action and the Active Voice, as the father performs these actions.

Therefore, there are three things the father did:

1) He ran towards his son. This tells us that God our Father comes quickly to the repentant believer. He does not leave him hanging out to dry, (i.e., letting him wallow in his sin and crawl on his knees or grovel for forgiveness). No! He comes to us bringing His love, mercy, forgiveness, and healing. This is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit which begins to work within us once we have repented / confessed our sins mentally, and even before in His convicting ministry. As you know, even our faith to believe is from God and our faith to repent is from God. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.

2) He embraced / hugged his son. God the Father fully embraces or wraps Himself around the repentant believer by first forgiving us of our sins, Rom 15:3.

Rom 15:3, “For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACH-ED YOU FELL ON ME (Psa 69:9).”

And then by embracing us where EPIPIPTO indicates a literal falling or pressing upon one’s neck as an expression of love or desire for affection. By analogy, we see this in multiple ways including the filling of God the Holy Spirit, which results from the confession of our sins when we compare 1 John 1:6-9, with Eph 5:1-18.

3) He kissed him affectionately or repeatedly. God our Father shows the repentant believer His grace and love over and over again, as now the repent believer, who was a lost member of the family of God, returns to his heavenly Father. As a result, the Father warmly embraces us and enters us back into the closest of intimate relationship with Him. This means we are once again entered into fellowship with God and walk in the Light of Jesus Christ. And it is all God’s doing not our own. All we did was apply non-meritorious faith to confess our sins and turn back to God once again. And when we are restored to fellowship with God, the discipline turns into blessing and God the Holy Spirit mightily works within our souls once again.

“The Jews understood the father as the one who mourned for a lost son (see the example of Jacob, Genesis 37:35 and of David, 2 Samuel 18:33). In this parable the father did not reject the son, nor did he accept him with punishment, denigration, scolding, or any other type of grudging action. Instead, the father gladly accepted the son back. The important thing was not that he had gone away, but that now he was back.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)

And, keep in mind that all of this occurred before the son had the chance to verbally confess his sin to his father. This tells us that God is lovingly and patiently waiting for the repentant to return and working in the repentant’s life so that he is able to return. And, when the repentant does return, there is much love expressed towards him or her; first, so that they are able to return, secondly to receive the repentant with joy, and thirdly so the repentant can maintain his return by walking in fellowship and in the light of Jesus Christ, as we will see further below.

Vs. 21

Luke 15:21, “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son’.”

Now that the father has met the son on the road to recovery, just as our heavenly Father meets us on the road to recovery from our sins, the son has the opportunity to turn his mental attitude into action by actually confessing his sins, just as we are to confess our sins to God the Father. In addition, this scene of the father running to the wayward son reminds us of what Jesus did in the Garden of Eden when Adam and the woman committed the first sin in human history. In that scene, Jesus met them in the cool of the evening, sacrificed a lamb for them and had them dress themselves, put on, the skins from that lamb. This is all a picture of what Jesus did for us upon the Cross for our positional sanctification, as well as our experiential sanctification, that is effective for the forgiveness of our sins when the believer confesses them to God our Father.

Notice the address of this confession of the son is to the “father,” PATER once again, which indicates, as we have previously noted, that the prayer of confession of sin, just as all prayers are, is addressed to God the Father, cf. Mat 6:6, 8-9; John 15:16; 16:23.

Mat 6:6, “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Mat 6:8, “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

Mat 6:9, “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name’.”

John 15:16, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”

John 16:23, “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.”

“I have sinned,” is the Aorist, Active, Indicative of the Verb HAMARTANO, as in vs. 18, that means, “to sin, to err, to miss a mark, etc.” In classical Greek, it was used in a variety of non-moral usages that give us a sense of the moral usage. For example, in throwing a spear at a target it meant to miss the mark. It was used when trying to find the correct road yet you could not. It was used in understanding a point being made that you did not know. And, in failing to keep something you were not able, therefore it was to lose. Each of these has analogy for the spiritual life and our fellowship with God.

As we have stated, according to Scripture, all sin is against God and most often directed against Him, as we see this young man confessing, “I have sinned against heaven,” EIS HO HOURANOS, Luke 15:18, 21. And as we noted in vs. 18, to sin against heaven means sin against God “who is in heaven,” Mat 6:9.

Yet, sin can also be directed against other people, Mat 18:15, 21; Luke 17:3-4, or even oneself, 1 Cor 6:18. But even if that is the case, to sin against another person, especially a Christian, or self, is to sin against God, 1 Cor 8:12.

1 Cor 6:18, “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.”

1 Cor 8:12, “And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.”

And in your sight,” in the Greek is KAI ENOPION SU, which indicates the father being witness to the young man’s sins, and that he sinned against his earthly father. In humility, not only is he confessing his sins to God the Father, but apologizing by confessing before his earthly father, the one he also sinned against. Only the confession of sin to God the Father results in cleansing of the soul in 1 John 1:9. Confessing to humans who you have sinned against is for the purpose of human reconciliation and the removal of ongoing guilt in your soul, as we also noted in vs. 18.

Therefore, we see the principle of the wayward son or daughter confessing their sins to God the Father after their heavenly Father has met them on their road to recovery, so that He can help them to complete the journey of repentance, as we noted in vs. 20.

As such, this leads us into further principles of repentance and utilizing 1 John 1:9, the Rebound technique inside the faith-rest life.

There are four results of Rebound.

  1. The believer is restored to fellowship with God.
  2. The believer recovers the first power option – the filling of the Holy Spirit.
  3. The believer resumes the function of his spiritual life.
  4. Spiritual skills now become operational in the believer’s life.

Now, the wayward son who has recovered, can walk in the light of Jesus Christ once again and apply the spiritual knowledge and skills God has provided him.

And remember, because of the Divine disciple the reversionist son was under, he woke up to the reality of his sins and repented. In doing so, God turns any remaining suffering due to the discipline into suffering for blessing. Under Divine discipline the status of the believer is Arrogance; the issue is Sin; the suffering is Unbearable; and the solution is Rebound. For the believer in recovery the status is Humility; the issue is Grace; the suffering is Bearable; and the solution is the Faith-Rest life.

There are four mechanics in the Rebound technique.

  1. Name it, 1 John 1:9.
  2. Isolate it, Heb 12:15.
  3. Forget it, Phil 3:13.
  4. Keep moving, Phil 3:14.

Therefore, Rebound is related to the use of the Faith‑Rest Drill.

  1. Stage One is the forgiveness stage once we name the sin to God the Father.

a. Name the sins you know and God forgives all sin, human good, and evil, in your life, 1 Cor 11:31; Jer 3:13; Psa 32:5, 38:18; 1 John 1:9.

Jer 3:13, “Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God and have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice, declares the LORD.”

Psa 32:5, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD;” and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.”

Psa 38:18, “For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.”

b. There is no place for guilt or any system of penance. If you add anything to rebound, you have not been forgiven. Adding anything to just naming the sin to God indicates many forms of arrogance. Instead of being forgiven you have intensified the sin factor in your life.

c. Apologies to other people for sins against them have nothing to do with rebound and the forgiveness of your sins. It has to do with your reconciliation with others that prevents you from further sinning in the future.

d. If you are not restored to fellowship with God inside of His power system for your life, you will not be able to endure the suffering for discipline that is turned into suffering for blessing. Therefore, rebound is a license for God to forgive us, not a license for us to sin as we please. Rebound frees us to get back into the plan of God and keep moving.

e. In Stage One of the Faith‑Rest Drill, the believer claims promises of forgiveness such as 1 John 1:9. In Stage Two, faith applies the doctrinal rationale of the imputation of that sin to Jesus Christ on the cross for judgment. In Stage Three, you reach the doctrinal conclusion that you are forgiven of not only all your sins, but also all your human good and evil, which were rejected at the cross as God’s solution to the problem between God and man.

2. Stage Two is the isolation of sin, Heb 12:15.

Heb 12:15, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” 

a. Mental attitude sinning is chain sinning. You are lighting one sin on the next sin. Your mental sins lead to verbal sins, which cause others to have mental attitude sins. Now you have contaminated, polluted, or defiled, (MIAINO) others and your discipline will be intensified.

b. The “root of bitterness” refers to arrogance within the soul that leads you to sin mentally, verbally and overtly, 1 John 2:16; James 4:16.

1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

James 4:16, “But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.”

“Bitterness” due to the arrogance complex of sins, fragments your thinking and thinking of others around you that first results in mental attitude sins. Mental attitude sins motivate chain sinning. When we see others sinning, we catch on to sinning from them, just as we would catch a common cold.

c. Rebound is God’s gracious provision to break the power of the cosmic system and sin, and decontaminate you from sin, human good, and evil.

d. “Coming short or falling back from the grace of God,” is the believer’s reentry into the cosmic system post-salvation every time we sin, making the believer the enemy of God, James 4:4.

James 4:4, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

e. The contamination of one believer in the cosmic system results in using his influence to convert other believers to Satan’s system. Many believers with momentum inside the Plan of God are lured by the siren song of other believers and unbelievers in the cosmic system, where they follow them only to crash and burn.

f. Therefore, once you have confessed a sin to God, that sin is to be isolated from mental attitude reaction in order to avoid chain sinning and perpetuation in the cosmic system.

g. After rebound, the sin is forgiven. So do not take a forgiven sin and use it as the means of losing impersonal love towards others, whereby you enter into that sin again and cause others to follow you in sin and go down with you. You cannot have impersonal love and entertain mental attitude sins at the same time.

3. Stage Three is to forget the sin once you name it to God the Father, Phil 3:13.

Phil 3:13, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”

a. Those things which lie behind include: self-absorption related to guilt, reaction to victimization or unjust treatment, utilization of defense mechanisms instead of Problem Solving Devices, reaction to the sins of others that shock us, etc.

b. If we allow the past to dictate our future, we will never progress inside the Plan of God. We need to not allow our past sins and failure to loom large over our heads in regret, guilt, or even lusting for the past. If we do, we will fall right back into the sin we have just escaped and been forgiven for.

c. Therefore, we need to forget our past sins and failures and focus on the present and future walk that we have with God, so that we can apply His Word to our lives as we apply love towards Him, impersonal love towards all of mankind, and love towards ourselves.

d. Forgetting our past sins means we forgive ourselves of our sins too, providing for us to move forward in the plan of God.

e. Forgetting does not mean the sin will be erased from our memories. It means we do not condemn ourselves because of our sins nor repeat them. And it means that we learn from our past sins and failures, so that we do not repeat them.

4. Stage Four is to keep moving, Phil 3:14-16.

Phil 3:14-16, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”

This is accomplished by perception and application of Bible doctrine.

Phil 3:18‑19, then describes the failure to keep moving.

Phil 3:18-19, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.”

This is the result of not apply rebounding and its principles.

Phil 3:20-21, then tell us of the hope and confidence we are to be walking in every day inside the Faith-Rest life.

Phil 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”

This is living in the resurrection life that God has given to us at the moment of our salvation. Even though we will not receive our resurrection bodies until the Rapture of the Church, we still have a resurrection life that we are to understand and walk in every day. Rebound gives the wayward son forgiveness of his past sins and entrance back into the unique spiritual life of the Church Age that he was not able to walk in. This is why the confession of our sins to God called “Rebound,” is such an important aspect of the spiritual life, and has been since the first two humans sinned in the Garden of Eden.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:

#20-102 & 20-103  & 20-104

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If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.

Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.

So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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