The Prodigal's Recovery and Repentance 17-24.
THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL
"I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee," Luke 15:18.
I. He is given a willingness to return. This willingness comprises a number of elements.
A. Humility. What humility is required to return home and acknowledge sinfulness.
B. Determination. Many things will meet him on the journey home. None shall turn him from his goal.
C. Knowledge. He knew the way home.
All this is wrought in the sinner by God's grace, enabling him to return.
"Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel," Shorter Catechism 31.
This is God's work. Its accomplishment is signalled by the sinner coming openly to the Saviour. Have you so come?
THE REPENTANCE OF THE PRODIGAL
It seems that no sooner had the Prodigal come to a decision than he put it into effect. The word "arose" is one often used in the NT for the resurrection from the dead. Here is the proof of genuine repentance. The repentant sinner can no longer remain in sin. At all costs he must get out and get back to the Father and to the company of His house. "Arose" is a word meaning "resurrection". See Matt 27: 51-53. Also John 11:43-44. In both cases there is a leaving of the tombs and going amongst the living. Such a movement is a mark of rue repentance!
Let us note the circumstances of the prodigal's return.
THE RECEPTION OF THE PRODIGAL
His father saw him. (See verse 4.)
1. The father's eye displayed his heart. His affections were with the son in the far country. He watched for him to return. No matter what the father was doing, his heart was upon the road, looking for his son's return.
2. It shows that the prodigal was expected. The sinner's return is the work of the Father. "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him," John 6:44.
3. He was seen of the father before he saw the father. Even now sinner, the Father's eye is upon you. He will detect the first move you make in repentance.