Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Prodigal Church? Part 4

Today I am going to look at how our God is a "prodigal" God. In my first blog on this topic I wrote that Keller, the author of The Prodigal God, defines prodigal as meaning 'recklessly extravagant'. While our initial reaction to someone or something being 'prodigal' might be a negative one, in the context of God's gift of salvation (and the Church's desire to share this gift with the world), prodigal is in fact a positive term.

It is true that the way we view a gift makes it's 'reckless extravagance' good or bad. Recklessness is never, at least in our human world, something that should be overlooked.

If you receive a recklessly extravagant gift that you truly cannot live without, the repurcussions for the giver can be overlooked and the gift received freely. If, however, you receive a recklessly extravagant gift that simply makes you happy, it could be argued that the repercussions for the giver are too great and the gift is not appropriate.

God's gift of salvation to all of humankind through the death of his son was an act of reckless extravagance that was and is necessary to human life. Without the death of Christ upon the cross we would not be able to gain eternal life. It is only through Jesus' atonement (making up for/paying the cost of) for our sins that we are able to recieve mercy and forgiveness.

The reckless extravagance of God in this act of mercy should cause all of us to pause.


"You see, at the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for an unrighteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:6-8