Family-oriented movies frequently end by showing a warm reunion. We see loved ones with arms around each other in an expression of love and support.
The parable of the prodigal son paints a similar picture of our heavenly Father's attitude towards us, His children. That well-known story illustrates the magnificence of grace. In Luke 15:20, the one who was sinned against is running out to eagerly welcome back the one who sinned. Be sure to notice how the one who was mistreated shows compassion to the one who was at fault.
And there is even more. The prodigal did not know that his full rights as a son would be restored. We as believers, however, know in advance what awaits us when we humbly return to our heavenly Father. Because of grace, we can count on acceptance no matter how long we have been absent from Him or how far we've wandered.
Grace guarantees that our the Lord will greet us with compassion and forgiveness, lovingly restoring us to full rights as His children. It is not our performance-in other words, not good deeds or even the right words of apology-that matters; it is our position in Christ. When God sees that we belong to His Son, He forgives us.
The parable of the prodigal son points us to the truth that because of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven even before we return. While this does not give us license to sin (Rom. 6:1-2), it does give us reason to celebrate. Our Father is waiting to welcome us home.