The story of the prodigal son is an incredible illustration of sin, repentance, and forgiveness. Through the character of the son, the parable reveals three things that should characterize a Christian's response to his sin.
Revulsion. In the end, the prodigal son was finally able to see the reality of his sin clearly. He saw it's ugliness, offensiveness, and destruction. He recognized how loathsome his sins were in comparison to the loving righteousness of his father's home. When a Christian is dead to sin and alive in Christ, sin does not suit him anymore. He is uncomfortable in it, and it disgusts him.
Repentance. When the son came to his senses, he turned from his sins and went home. Genuine repentance is more than confessing or admitting our guilt. It requires condemning sin, turning away from it, and running towards Jesus in obedience.
Reproof. In his great kindness, the heavenly father does not allow his children to become comfortable in sin. Just as the prodigal son had to hit rock bottom to come to his senses, so the Lord will send opportunities, difficulties, and correction to help his children repent and abandon their sin. He loves his children too much to leave them in their depravity.
Every one of us has sinned more than enough to earn us an eternity of damnation. But a true Christian cannot continue on a steady trajectory of sin. There must be evidence of genuine revulsion, repentance, and reproof as our response to sin.
From Am I Really a Christian? by Mike McKinley.
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