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The Prodigal's acceptance (Luke 15: 22).
What a welcome awaited the returning prodigal!
What an exhibition of "grace
"Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand; and shoes on
his feet" (verse 22).
The Father commands, the servants obey. The robe, ring and shoes are both provided
and "put on" the son, without that son saying a word, or raising a finger. Like the
believer to-day, he stood "accepted in the Beloved".
We have not far to seek to discover the purport of the "robe". "All our righteousness",
said the prophet, "are as filthy rags", a picture of the tattered and travel-stained clothing
of the returning prodigal, which, in their turn, depicted his own conscious unworthiness.
The same prophet, speaking of Israel's restoration, said, "He hath covered me with the
robe of righteousness".
In the New Testament, "To put on" is used of the "Armour of light", of
"Incorruption", and "Immortality", of "The new man", and of "Christ".
The prodigal is clothed with a righteousness not his own.
"When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart.
Then Lord shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe."
It is noteworthy that the word used to denote the "best" robe, is the Greek word
protos, "first". It was the "chief in rank", it was parallel with the "adoption" that is the
glory of our own blessed calling.
"The ring" was a symbol of distinction (James 2: 2). "The shoes" were an indication
that he was a free man, for according to Alford, slaves often went barefoot.
How this unreserved acceptance and full and free reinstatement foreshadows
something of our position by wondrous grace!
"In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and
unreproveable in His sight" (Col. 1: 22).