Ephesians 2:8-9

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Marks of a Far Country



“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9



Don’t ever pray, “God, give me justice.” You don’t want God to give you what you deserve, which is judgment. Rather, a better thing to pray would be, “God, be merciful to me. God, extend Your grace to me.” When God extends mercy, He doesn’t give you what you deserve. And when God extends grace, He gives you what you don’t deserve.

We find a classic example of grace in the story of the prodigal son. The son had sinned. He dragged the family name through the mud. If the father had dealt with his prodigal son justly, he would have allowed the boy to be stoned. That would have been justice. If the father would have dealt with the son in mercy, he would have let him come on as a hired hand as the boy had requested.

But the father dealt with him in grace when he provided his son with luxurious attire and placed a signet ring on his finger. That was grace, not justice, and it was even more than mercy. It was grace extended. The father’s love is never mere sentimentalism. He felt grief as he waited. And he waited, because not even a prodigal must be coerced.

There is no easy pardon. God doesn’t casually say, “Oh, just forget it.” Judgment is written across the story. There was the famine, shame, loneliness, alienation. The marks of the far country remained on the lost one. This is not sloppy grace, there is the prodigal’s misery and the prodigal’s grief. Forgiveness is the welcome home and the working of love until we become the home of God. 



If you are a parent dealing with a wayward or prodigal child, you may grieve over their choices, but there is great power in a praying parent. Whatever the need, take heart that your Lord and Savior already knows all about it. He wants to mend that broken heart. Keep praying. The Spirit intercedes on your behalf.