Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Return to Your First Love

There are a few songs that make me cry every time I hear them, without fail. This is one of them. God brought this song by Lee Behnken into my ears when I had wandered away from Him, when my heart was hard like granite, when I had sold out to indwelling sin and felt no hope at all. I melted, and felt His love again. He renewed my repentance, and for that I will bless His Name always.

I love the fact that this was aired on Chinese television. Unfortunately, the video quality is poor, and Lee had to sing over a soundtrack including his own pre-recorded voice (makes an interesting "chorus" effect). But nothing can repress the beauty and joy of these lyrics. It's a song from God to His prodigals. Come back to Jesus, dear prodigal! Return to your first love!

No one loves you more! There is no one like the Lord!

Luke 15:11-32
There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“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.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.

But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’

The paradox is that God initiates our return in one sense, and awaits our return in another. Wandering prodigals find they must choose to return, and as they return they find a patient Father who eagerly longs for them to make this choice. But once they have returned to His arms, they look back and see that His cords of love drew them, and His effectual call caused them to repent. They are responsible to repent, yet they get no credit for it. He alone gets the glory. All who are truly repentant cannot and will not resist giving the Father this glory, though they may find it impossible to explain.

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