Two Sons

Yahushua sat down to dinner with sinners and tax collectors.

The self-righteous of the day protested, but of course we know He came for just such a thing, to offer up a way of healing and a way of reconciliation – not for those who felt they ‘had it all together’, but for those who were, and knew they were, the worst of the lot and in need of some remedy.

Some stood ready to execute the full penalty of the Law on a woman who had been immersed in sexual sin… but Yahushua reminded those willing to dole out justice without mercy that they too had sins, and instead of stoning her, He offered her hope of forgiveness.

Ninevah would have been consumed in the wrath of YHWH. but for their repentance and His mercy, which greatly displeased Jonah, the messenger of their doom.

Repeatedly we see the demonstration of meaning in the words “I will have mercy and not sacrifice”. Repeatedly He shows that it is His mission to restore the un-restorable, to heal the hopelessly broken and to even turn back the irreversible sting of death, usually to the indignation and confounding of individuals who see themselves as much more worthy of His notice.

Unfortunately people do not often think the way He thinks or value what He values, and oftentimes it is believers who become the least willing to sit with the tax collectors or pardon the adulteress, or rejoice over the repentance of those who have been guilty of great wrongs.

What I read of His ability to have love for His creation is really something that goes beyond almost all comprehension. He says, of all things… to love your enemies.

That’s not easy to do, let’s not fool ourselves… it is one thing to say “i love everyone”, but it’s a completely different concept put into action. Not just an idea or a feeling, ‘loving an enemy’ means actively participating in good will towards them… praying for them, earnestly desiring their salvation and well being.

How easy is it to visit murderers on death row and try to bring them, not just a sermon, but an obvious display of compassion and concern? Now imagine trying to visit one in prison who had murdered your own child and show them compassion and concern.

We must be careful where we begin to justify withholding mercy, because as long as this age endures, He has set no limitations upon the degree of evil He is willing to forgive… or the degree of sinner He is willing to love.

What degree of sinner would be justified in His sight if there was a limit?

He is the standard of perfection for which we are to strive… we won’t be perfect in this age of the reign of sin, but all the same, we have no excuse for not making it our goal.

If our enemies are to be loved by us, and His enemies are loved by Him, being the standard of that perfect mercy…there must be no fallen being which is not included in that command, up to and including Satan.

If it comes as a horrific shock to hear that any believer should have “love” for the devil – then that shock comes from a place of having heard the attitude set forth throughout churches and by pastors of justified malice towards, at least, That enemy… being the most wicked enemy anyone has.

The attitude of malice towards that greatest of enemies is not present in scripture.

We are certainly warned to not invite him into our lives… to not model ourselves after him, to not take part in his temptations or fall under his control – but we are never commanded to despise him. Even Michael knew better than to use venomous words against him.

I do not predict that the Devil will ever repent… but that is a complete guess on my part based on the best evidence I have, and I don’t have all the evidence there is to have.

I do know that He created an angel, who later became Satan, and if He cares for sparrows, He has certainly cared for him. Even Satan is worth my hopes that he should find repentance, however small that possibility is.

As for fallen angels in general, I hold to a belief of the possibility of their repentance that does not go down well with most believers.

I’ve come up against a multitude of arguments persuading against it, and yet have never encountered an argument from a scriptural source which could utterly negate the possibility.

At best, there is the opinion that it’s just not even discussed in scripture, and while that’s true in the sense of a direct address of the subject… I’ve at least found better evidence of it addressed in parable and theme than any similar evidence to the contrary.

A really interesting section of Luke draws my attention on the matter… well known as the parable of the prodigal son:

“A certain man had two sons. 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. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.

But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against the sky and before you and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”‘

And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against the sky and in your sight and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry, for this my son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you. I never transgressed your commandment at any time and yet you never gave me a young goat that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'”
– Luke 15:11-32

We might be inclined to think of the younger and older sons in terms of chronology of origin, perhaps putting angels in the place of the older sibling… but this is a parable concerning a right standing relationship to the Father – and there’s no sense speculating that holy angels are irritable towards humanity’s repentance, as obviously it states that there is great rejoicing by them when one sinner repents.

Other than holy angels, all other beings are in need of reconciliation to obtain a right standing with Him, and that reconciliation was no doubt offered first and foremost to mankind.

Who could have been said to have taken a long journey into a “foreign country”, carrying with them the inheritance of the Father which fell to them and squandering it on sinful living?

Fallen angels have done this, and maybe it most starkly resembles the circumstances surrounding the Watchers’ rebellion. Now far removed from their native habitation, fallen angels exist as degraded, filthy and desperate sinners… figuratively wallowing in the pig pen, and spiritually starving for lack of the relationship to their Father in which they were created to thrive.

If one should “come to their senses” and repent, it is not difficult to see how the expectation of their best hope might be to return to their Father, not with the status of a son, but a hired servant.

The older sibling can then be likened to mankind… for whom the promise of a Savior has been established since the first man fell.

The repentance of a fallen angel would work on a different dynamic than a human… it would be comparable to the faith of the Canaanite woman who begged Yahushua to free her daughter from demonic possession:

“And behold, a woman of Kena’an came from that region and cried out to Him saying, “Have mercy on me, O Master, Son of Dawiyd! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’el.”

Then she came and worshiped Him saying “Master, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Master, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Yahushua answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
– Matthew 15: 22-28

Indeed… the food of the table belongs to the children, yet the dogs are not denied the crumbs.

Mercy

Only taking into account the reception that the prospect of angelic redemption receives in the Christian community, I am starkly reminded of that older sibling’s smug dismissal of the idea that this “unworthy” brother of his should, not only be welcomed back to the household, but welcomed back with great relief and much rejoicing by his Father.

Unfortunately, just like that older son, many allow their status as redeemed to be a point of personal pride to them. It is hard within the sin nature to divorce oneself from that urge of ego to take credit for one’s own salvation – the very same problem which begets believers who lean towards a “salvation by works” error.

If then, knowing the truth… that not one of us are worthy of the mercy He shows us, that there is nothing anyone could have done for themselves or for Him by their own power to acquire redemption… how differently ought we to regard the lost – of any persuasion – knowing that if not for His grace, we ourselves would be no better off?

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