Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Prodigal Comes Home

The parable of the prodigal son is an important lesson for us all. Like the prodigal son, we have “all sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We have all left our heavenly home and come here to earth to either develop or squander our inheritance. When we keep God’s commandments we prosper and develop the gifts of the spirit promised to each of us. When we stray from the straight and narrow path and wander the roads of Babylon, we are like the Prodigal Son that has forgotten who he is and “wasted his substance in riotous living” (Luke 15:13).

Our lives here in mortality vary from the righteous son and the prodigal son. When the time comes that we stand before God to be judged according our works (Alma 12:12) hopefully there are more acts recorded that are in the obedient son column. Our Heavenly Father is there waiting for our return with open arms. Elder Spencer J. Condie spoke of this when he said:

“…this loving father never gave up on his wayward son, and his unrelenting vigilance is confirmed in the poignant narration that when the son “was yet a great way off, his father  had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). Not only was there an open display of physical affection toward his son, but the father requested his servants to give him a robe, shoes for his feet, and a ring for his hand and instructed them to kill the fatted calf, joyfully declaring, “He was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:24).

“Throughout the years, this father had developed such a compassionate, forgiving, loving disposition that he could do nothing else but love and forgive. This parable is a universal favorite for all of us because it holds out the hope to each one of us that a loving Father in Heaven stands in the roadway, as it were, anxiously awaiting the arrival of each of His prodigal children back home.” (“Welcoming the Prodigal”, Spencer J. Condie, Liahona, February 2011)

Just as the father in the parable loved his disobedient son, our Heavenly Father loves us completely. His love is not dependent on our obedience or disobedience. The reward for obedience is exaltation and disobedience leaves us subject to the devil.

Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—
If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation— (Mosiah 16:10-11)

Because we have all sinned at one time or another we are not able to enter back into the presence of God unless we are cleansed from those sins. Only through the atonement of Jesus Christ are we able to become clean and only then are we able have The Father put on us the best robes and be welcomed with his embrace. When Jesus Christ visited the people in America after his resurrection he taught:

Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.

Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved. (3 Nephi 9:21-22)

Malachi described the time when Jesus Christ would return in trumph to the earth as the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5) It will be a great day for those who have repented of their sins and have taken advantage of the atonement of Jesus Christ for they become as the prodigal son who finally has come to himself and returned home to the his father. To those who do not repent, the prophet Nephi said:

And you that will not partake of the goodness of God, and respect the words of the Jews, and also my words, and the words which shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the Lamb of God, behold, I bid you an everlasting farewell, for these words shall 
condemn you at the last day. (2 Nephi 33:14)

King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon addressed his people before his death and taught them to keep the commandments of God so that they could retain a remission of their sins and be blameless before God and not perish. Then he said: “And now, O man, remember and perish not” (Mosiah 4:26-30). May we all remember the promises to those who are like the obedient son in the parable and will be able to enjoy all that The Father has for us.

Here is a five-minute video of Rich Millar who like the prodigal son left his faith and then found his way back.

I invite you to post your comments and questions below (if there are no comments, click on the “no comments” link below).

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