Eight Jewels in the Ring of Reconciliation
Story of Ruin and Reconciliation
Jesus told stories about sinners like the unforgettable tale of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. It s an unforgettable story of complete ruin and reconciliation. It is a type of the redeemed sinner.
A blessed change takes place in the sinner's state, when he becomes a true believer, whatever he has been. Being justified by faith he has peace with God. The holy, righteous God, cannot be at peace with a sinner, while under the guilt of sin. Justification takes away the guilt, and so makes way for peace. This is through our Lord Jesus Christ; through him as the great Peace-maker, the Mediator between God and man.
Paul speaks about the blessed effects of justification by faith that we are reconciled with God through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1-2 "By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise." (The Message)
Romans 5:3-5 "There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! "
Romans 5:7-8 "Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him." (The Message)
Romans 5:9-11 "Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!" (The Message)
The Jewels in the Ring
The parable of the prodigal son is one of several memorable parables recorded only in Luke's Gospel. It stands out as the choicest of these parables for many reasons.
Let us consider a chart of Luke 15:11-24, starting on verse 12, "And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood. This illustrates self-will. Then the next downward step in verse 13 illustrates selfishness, which was reduced to another downward step of separation. The fourth step downward illustrates sensuality where the younger son after getting all his inheritance wasted his money with all the earthly and lust of the flesh; going down to verse 15 which is the spiritual destitution and finally on the last downward step on verse 16: self-abasement and starvation.
This is exactly how a sinner reached to the point, where there is no other way except to return to the Lord. But the most important key of returning to God is a godly repentance. Humbling ourselves in the Lord and bring all our sins and iniquities at the foot of the cross.
The story of the lost or prodigal son is really a concrete example of a sinner whose motivation in going back to God is not out of sincere repentance. There are times that because we found ourselves in a situation where there is no way out... we remember God. This son in the parable was starving. He remembered that in his father's house, there are many servants, who are well fed. They have more than enough to share. He decided to come back and willing to accept the consequences of being denied by his father. He knows what he had done to his father. He was expecting nothing and he was ready to be put on the lowest place just so he will be forgiven and be able to eat and live in a life better than what he experienced eating the food of the swine. But it was different with the Father... he did not care what motive his son in coming back has... what was important to him that his son came home to him.
These illustrations of the son returning to his father was expanded by Paul in the book of Romans which shows the wonderful blessings that come to the reconciled sinner to our Abba Father as illustrated in Romans 5:1-18.
Here is the upward climb of the lost son-when a person repents and decides to ask forgiveness from God and will totally surrender or reconciled with God (Romans 5:17-22) first, there is realization and resolution as illustrated in verse 17 which leads to complete repentance in verse 18. In verse 19, the decision to return; in verse 20 the reconciliation that takes place and finally the father... our Abba Father who is really our "Daddy" in heaven, who is always merciful and forgiving welcomes a returning son re-clothing him and rejoicing (verse 20, 22)for his return. The seven downward steps and the upward climb of the lost son as Christ pictures the Father placing the ring of reconciliation on the hand of the returning son.
Reconciliation takes place as soon as we are in the arms of the Father, He will change our garment (re-clothing) from a filthy rugs of sin into a white robe of holiness and a rejoicing heart, putting the ring of reconciliation. Take note that it is not just an ordinary ring ... it is a priceless ring with eight jewels on it such as:
Eight jewels in the ring of reconciliation
1. Peace. According to Romans 1, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (NIV)
This peace with God is not merely a subjective feeling of (peace of mind) but primarily an objective status, a new relationship with God; Once we were his enemies, but now we are his friends as was said in Romans 5:10 " For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life."
2. Access (Romans 5:2) "through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand." (NIV)
What a jewel we got here if we are saved... we gained access into this grace; God's grace is charis in Greek; it is undeserved privilege; unmerited favor from God.
Jesus Christ, our Lord ushers us into the presence of God. The heavy curtain (of the temple) that separated man from God and God from man has been removed. Matthew 27:51 says, "Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split," (NKJV)
3. Joy (Romans 5:2) "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." (NIV)
The Christians confidence that the purpose for which God created him will be ultimately realized as was said in Genesis 1:26-28, that was before the fall of man:
Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” (NLT)
4. Glory in trials (tribulations) (Romans 5:3) " Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that sufferings produces perseverance;" (NIV)
James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (NIV)
5. Patience (Perseverance) (Romans 5:4) "perseverance, character;
A Christian can rejoice in suffering or trials because he knows that it is not meaningless. Part of God's purpose is to produce character in his children.
6. Experience. Romans 5:4 and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope." (KJV)
It works an experience of God, and the songs he gives in the night; the patient sufferers have the greatest experience of the divine consolations, which abound as afflictions abound. It works an experience of ourselves. It is by tribulation that we make an experiment of our own sincerity, and therefore such tribulations are called trials.
7. Hope (Romans 5:5) "And this hope will not lead to disappointment..." (NLT)
This hope will not disappoint us, because it is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a Spirit of love. It is the gracious work of the Holy Spirit to pour out the love of God in the hearts of all the saints.
8. Love (Romans 5:5) "...For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."
The Greek term agapē (G0026) means love. This noun means the attitude or emotion of deep affection for another person, with a focus on loving action and not feelings alone. This love is extolled as a cardinal virtue. The word agapē can also refer to a common meal connected to worship for early Christians.
So many are wondering why a Christian can love a person even if the person concerned is not really lovable... the answer is very simple... because love in Christian principle is not just a feeling alone... it is an action of loving regardless of the color, race, or whatever.
The love of God, that is, the sense of God's love to us, drawing out love in us to him again. The great effects of his love: (1.) Special grace; and, (2.) The pleasant gust or sense of it. It is shed abroad, as sweet ointment, perfuming the soul, as rain watering it and making it fruitful. The ground of all our comfort and holiness, and perseverance in both, is laid in the shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts; it is this which constrains us, “Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life (2 Cor 5:14). Thus are we drawn and held by the bonds of love. Sense of God's love to us will make us not ashamed, either of our hope in him or our sufferings for him.
We can now imagine what priceless ring we got when we are reconciled with God through sincere repentance. Our Abba Father through Christ Jesus will put that Ring of Reconciliation in our finger. A ring that symbolizes authority as children of God with the eight jewels that no money can buy.
For sinners coming to repentance, the father's eager welcome and costly generosity are reminders that God's grace and goodness are inexhaustible.
The Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible
New International Version Study Bible
John MacArthur (A Tale of Two Sons)