The Berean Expositor
Volume 33 - Page 109 of 253
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The exaltation of self-righteousness is so odious in the sight of God that it cannot be
tolerated. The humble penitence of "the sinner" or of the "prodigal son" is the only spirit
that finds acceptance before the throne of God.
If it were possible for human nature to produce perfect righteousness it would be a
lovely thing and would far outweigh even the grace of penitence. But perfection is seen
only in the person of Christ. All men have sinned, and even their acts of "righteousness"
often make them hard, cold, and self-exalted. Even the Apostle makes a distinction in
Rom. 5: between a "just man" and a "good man", a distinction still, alas, possible, while
human nature is as it is.
"Give me . . . . . Make me" (Luke 15: 12, 19).
pp. 31, 32
A recent broadcast talk called attention to the two petitions of the parable of the
prodigal son, the first, "Give me", the second "Make me". These embody a thought that
goes to the very heart of the parable. Let us ponder it.
The younger son, said, "Father give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And
he divided unto them his living". The younger son did not ask for more than his share.
He was not envious of his elder brother, with possibly a "double portion"; he simply
asked for his own. Most certainly the Father did no evil in granting the request. In the
beginning God made man a free moral agent. As such, if he chose to say "Give me" that
which is my own, he was free to do so. What Adam did with his freedom of choice and
his ability to say "I will not", like the son in the other parable is, alas, not only past
history, but a present factor in life.
The parable employs a peculiar word for "goods". It is ousia, part of the verb "to be",
and occurs in but one more passage in the N.T., namely in the next verse of the parable,
where it is translated "substance". Ousia, while it means "goods", most certainly leads
the mind to think of "being" or "essence". Its very choice makes us realize that typically
the prodigal son is "man" who squanders not "things" merely, but "himself".
Acceding to the request the Father divided to his sons "his living", and while the elder
said that his brother had devoured his "living", the narrative says he wasted his
"substance" (ousia). Man, his life, his means, and his mode of living, were given to him,
and the Father waits, waits for the next request, "Make me" (Luke 15: 19). Here was
repentance; here was humility; here was the lesson of the ages learned; here was
something which, for all his cold self-righteousness, the elder brother could not