“But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20
Suggested Further Reading: John 3:16-21
When the light of God’s grace comes into your heart, it is something like the opening of the windows of an old cellar that has been shut up for many days. Down in that cellar, which has not been opened for many months, are all kinds of loathsome creatures, and a few sickly plants blanched by the darkness. The walls are dark and damp with the trail of slugs and snails; it is a horrid filthy place into which no one would willingly enter. You may walk there in the dark very securely, and except now and then for the touch of some slimy creature, you would not believe the place was so bad and filthy. Open those shutters, clean a pane of glass, let a little light in, and now see how a thousand noxious things have made this place their habitation. It was not the light that made this place so horrible, but it was the light that showed how horrible it was before. So let God’s grace just open a window and let the light into a man’s soul, and he will stand astonished to see at what a distance he is from God. Yes, sir, today you think yourself second to none but the Eternal; you fancy that you can approach his throne with steady step; it is but a little that you have to do to be saved; you imagine that you can accomplish it at any hour, and save yourself upon your dying bed as well as now. Ah! sir, if you could be made to be in appearance what you are in reality, then you would see that you are far enough from God even now, and so far from him that unless the arms of his grace were stretched out to bring you to himself; you must perish in your sin.
For meditation: Even the believer has sins of which he is ignorant (Psalm 19:12). God knows all about them. Thank him that he came in the person of his only-begotten Son to meet us when we were far off and to bring us back to himself (Ephesians 2:13).
Sermon no. 176
7 February (1858)