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One of the most touching word pictures in the Bible is the story of the return of the Prodigal Son. When the lost son came to his senses and returned home to his loving father, the scene in which they were reunited is meant to tell us what it can be like when we are forgiven of our sins and reconciled to God spiritually: "And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate" (Lk. 15:20-24). Who can read this story and not be touched by the love and grace of the father who welcomed his unworthy son home?
It is sin, of course, which has created the need for us to be reconciled to God. Having committed sin, we are in a lost condition, alienated from God and at enmity with Him. But God was not willing simply to abandon us. In love, He sacrificed His Son to atone for our sins, thus making it possible for the enmity to be removed and reconciliation to take place. "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation" (Rom. 5:10,11).
The reconciliation to God offered to us in the gospel of Christ must be received. It is not automatically applied to every human being; it is granted only to those who will receive it on God's terms. The gospel not only explains those terms, but it urges us to accept them. Speaking as an apostle of Christ, Paul wrote, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Cor. 5:10). The wonderful truth is: God has made possible our reconciliation to Himself. This week, may it be our aim to appreciate that grace and respond to it obediently.
Monday: Romans 5:6-11
Key Idea: We are reconciled to God through the death of His Son.
Questions for Family Growth: What does Paul mean when he says that "we were still weak"? According to v.10, what were we before being reconciled to God? What made our reconciliation to God possible?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:24-26.
Tuesday: John 3:16,17
Key Idea: By reconciling us to Himself, God demonstrates His love.
Questions for Family Growth: What did God's love move Him to do for us? What will happen to those who do not believe in God's Son? Does v.17 mean that no one will be condemned? If not, what does it mean?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:27.
Wednesday: Ephesians 3:7-13
Key Idea: By reconciling us to Himself, God demonstrates His wisdom.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.10, what is made known "through the church"? Is the church made up of those who have been reconciled to God? In v.11, what was the "eternal purpose" of God that has been realized in Christ?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:28.
Thursday: Romans 3:21-26
Key Idea: By reconciling us to Himself, God demonstrates His justice.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean that God put forward His Son "to show his righteousness"? What does it mean for God to be both "just" and "the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:29.
Friday: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Key Idea: In the gospel, we are urged to accept God's reconciliation.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.18, through whom has God reconciled us to Himself? Will every person who has ever lived actually be reconciled to God? What did Paul appeal to his readers to do in v.20? How does a person do this?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:30.