And he arose, and came to his father. 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

Returning to the father’s house comes with responsibilities. Jesus Christ gave His Church — this body of spiritually transformed believers — a responsibility to carry out. And while we are all sinners, as was the prodigal son, it is heartwarming, comforting and, yes, almost incomprehensible that God the Father is willing to accept us back, given the mistakes we have made.

This overview of the parable is well-known, and we are deeply moved by this understanding. But now let’s consider what isn’t commonly perceived about this story and what this knowledge should motivate us to do. God wants us to repent is the first responsibility at hand.

Throughout the Bible, we see that God desires us to repent and be reconciled to Him. He “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Repentance is a change of heart and direction. It involves a determination to stop sinning and not sin in the future.

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