Saturday, June 4, 2011

Of Sheep, Coins and Prodigals

Something occurred to me this past week while reading the parables of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin. These two parables are in the same context as the famous parable of the Prodigal Son, and together were Jesus' response to people who questioned His habit of associating with "sinners". Together, they told His hearers (and readers) Jesus' (God's) perspective of why He cared and what God did in sinners coming to salvation and repentance. In the first two parables, God does the searching and finding. Yet, in the parable of the Prodigal, the Prodigal "came to his senses". While different, it's not an either-or situation. It's both-and, looking at what God does and what happens in the sinner's heart, which God, being omniscient, can do.

One thing bugged me, though. There's "some one" missing in these scenarios, the human agent who calls the sinner to repentance. These parables present what happens from God's perspective: God seeks; God enables the sinner to repent. But God does work through human agents, Romans 10:14-15: How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" 

The one preaching (sharing, etc.) the Gospel is responsible for the sharing, for being faithful to do it. God does the seeking and convicting, and the sinner's heart is changed.

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