The Prodigal’s Suspicion

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.   1 John 3:1

“No doubt, at first, the prodigal boy did not believe what was happening. There was his father, running, throwing his arms around his wayward child, embracing him, ‘filled with compassion for him’ as Jesus says. But the son’s heart was probably still saying: ‘I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ His sin had so burdened him with guilt that he just could not have expected his father’s loving gestures. How could his father still love him?”

“Many Christians go through much of their life with the prodigal’s suspicion. Their concentration is upon their sin and failure; all their thoughts are introspective. That is why (in the Greek text) John’s statement about the Father’s love begins with a word calling us to lift up our eyes from ourselves and take a long look at what God has done: Behold! – look and see – the love the Father has lavished upon us!” – Sinclair Ferguson, Children of the Living God

I confess, I too am guilty of the prodigal’s suspicion. My concentration is upon my sin and failure, my thoughts are introspective. The result? I doubt the Father’s love.

I want to look up, to behold, to lift my eyes and see the glorious love of my Father.

+photo by yonpol

What about you? Do find yourself struggling with the prodigal’s suspicion?

  • Wendy

    I, too, often feel this way. I look down and see all my sin and think that there is NO WAY God could love me like this. I feel like I have to get rid of some of it before he could take me back. But the story of the prodigal son and the quotes above give such hope! God’s love doesn’t change because Christ’s atonement for my sin doesn’t change. It’s not as if I run out and still have sin left over- Christ’s atoning blood covered all of my sni- past, present, and future, so that God my Father looks on me with love, accepting this sacrifice that was made on my behalf. What an amazing thought!

  • http://www.asacrificeofpraise.wordpress.com Emily

    i’m so glad that 1st john 3:1 ends with “and so we are.” I AM God’s child. He does love me. whether i feel that’s true or not, nothing changes that.

    when i see my sin and my consistent failures i find God’s love just too good to be true. but that’s a wonder of the gospel – it IS in fact a greater love than my little brain will ever be able to comprehend. honestly it makes my God bigger in my eyes. if He loved with a love like I do, then i’d be in a pitiful state still. i’m so grateful that God is not like me.

  • http://reicheru.wordpress.com Rachael

    I feel I don’t think about God’s love for me that deeply. I’m reminded of something I recently read in Daniel 10, when he had a vision…he was told that he was “greatly loved” (vs. 19), and now that I’m looking back at it I see that he was told htat in vs. 10 as well…it’s neat that he was told that.

  • http://www.thelearningneverstops.blogspot.com Emily

    Can I just say, OFTEN…very, very often I feel like this. But grace is so beautifully satisfying. I know that my emotions aren't reliable, so I cling to truths.

    God.Loves.Me.Despite.Me. :)

  • Sonya

    I struggle with this almost everyday. I think i understand Christ’s atonement for my sin, I know my penalty has been paid and I’m free of God’s wrath. BUT to also be seen as righteous?! This is what I struggle to grasp. We don’t deserve to be restored at all, but why be restored as a son when we could just as well be a servant? Maybe it’s as Emily said, “it’s just too good to be true. but that’s the wonder of the gospel”. I long for the day when my heart will loose all suspicion and “behold the love the Father has lavished on us.” Is that possible now or not until we get to heaven?