Have you ever wondered when God would quit offering forgiveness? Or what you might do that would be too big for him to forgive? Or what the limit of sins might be? The Bible is clear God’s grace will end. At that point, God will no longer offer salvation.
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.
These were the words Jesus used to describe God’s love.
That’s our God — the One that runs to us. The One full of compassion, love, grace, and mercy for us. The One who desires nothing more than to show this to us.
Father, I have sinned against you. I am [not] worthy to be called your son.
This is how Jesus described our condition in the parable of the prodigal son recorded in Luke 15. And of course, Jesus nailed it.
You might can relate, but I am constantly the prodigal and God is constantly the good Father.
The other day I once again found myself in need of discipline and chastisement from the Lord. True to form, I avoided a few mornings of “quiet times”. I would not bother praying or opening up my Bible. I knew what I deserved to hear. I knew again I have failed, no scratch that — I have rebelled against God.
As always all of life then began to spiral to crap, and misery became the tune on my lips. So finally, I opened my prayer journal, dated the page, and wrote “Father, I am sor…” before I finished He showed up. The prayer I had prayed in my heart in which my pen was trying to catch up to was, “Father, I am sorry. Once again I have sinned against you. I am horrible. I am here, say and do what you must.”
With all right to swing the belt or take my car keys. He, true to form, showed compassion. He spoke into my heart, “I love you.”
For my twenty-four years of being a Christian this is how He has responded.
It’s how God works. It’s how He rolls.
It’s sad it has taken me so long to realize, but I thought out loud the other day — God’s voice (or however it is he speaks to us) is always one of love and forgiveness.
He always runs to us.
He is always ready to show compassion.
He shouldn’t. He shouldn’t at all, but no matter what — no matter what the sin, He forgives, often even taking away the consequence we deserved.
No matter who the prodigal is or how far they have traveled away, God the Father is watching for their return.
The depths of our wretchedness are not a limiting factor for His grace and mercy. Crazy as it sounds there isn’t even a quota of sins that are too high. God is the lover of prodigals. He is the restorer of prodigals.
But there is a limit. There is a point when He will no longer watch for us to return. — it’s when He returns. God’s grace will end at Jesus’ return.
In another parable which is found in Matthew 20, Jesus reveals even more so the abundant grace that belongs to the Father. Regardless of what we have to offer or don’t have to offer, He will continually give grace and salvation. But even in a parable that was intended to show the extent of God’s grace — there was a limit. The limit was not based on size of sin, number of sins, or amount of faithfulness, rather grace ended when the day ended.
God is the good Father watching for prodigals — ready to show compassion. But one day He will quit watching. One day the dispensing of His grace and salvation will end.
According to 2 Peter 3:9, God has even held off the end, so that many might receive His grace. Although He is waiting, Jesus will come back.
So prophecy may not be so much about the coming judgment, but rather the time when grace is no longer waiting on the prodigal. A time when the prodigal is found stuck in the pig sty. When there isn’t a ring or robe left to be handed out.
Prophecy as with everything reveals God’s grace. A grace that is truly amazing, and knows only one bound. That bound is not in the sin that grace is to cover, but in the time frame known only to the Lord.