Luke 15:18 MEANING

Luke 15:18
(18) I will arise and go to my father.--This, then, was the firstfruits of repentance. He remembers that he has a father, and trusts in that father's love; but he dares not claim the old position which he had so recklessly cast away. He is content to be as one of the "hired servants." Spiritually, the first impulse of the contrite heart is to take the lowest place, to wish for the drudgery of daily duties, or even menial service, if only it may be near its Father in heaven, and by slow degrees regain His favour and earn the wages of His praise.

I have sinned . . .--More strictly, I sinned, as going back in thought to the first act of sin as virtually including all that grew out of it.

Verses 18, 19. - I will arise and go to my father... make me as one of thy hired servants. The repentance of the prodigal was real. It was no mere sentimental regret, no momentary flash of sorrow for a bad past. There was before him a long and weary journey to be undertaken, and he - brought up in luxury - had to face it without means. There was the shame of confession before dependents and relatives and friends, and, as the crown of all, there was the position of a servant to be filled in the home where once he had been a son, for that was all he hoped to gain even from his father's pitying love.

15:17-24 Having viewed the prodigal in his abject state of misery, we are next to consider his recovery from it. This begins by his coming to himself. That is a turning point in the sinner's conversion. The Lord opens his eyes, and convinces him of sin; then he views himself and every object, in a different light from what he did before. Thus the convinced sinner perceives that the meanest servant of God is happier than he is. To look unto God as a Father, and our Father, will be of great use in our repentance and return to him. The prodigal arose, nor stopped till he reached his home. Thus the repenting sinner resolutely quits the bondage of Satan and his lusts, and returns to God by prayer, notwithstanding fears and discouragements. The Lord meets him with unexpected tokens of his forgiving love. Again; the reception of the humbled sinner is like that of the prodigal. He is clothed in the robe of the Redeemer's righteousness, made partaker of the Spirit of adoption, prepared by peace of conscience and gospel grace to walk in the ways of holiness, and feasted with Divine consolations. Principles of grace and holiness are wrought in him, to do, as well as to will.I will arise,.... This is the resolution which at last, through divine grace, he came into: he determines to quit the country, and his companions; he had left his harlots, and his old course of living before, but was in the same country still; for this a man may do, and yet remain unregenerate: but he is now for leaving the country itself, and his new acquaintance; he is now determined to drop his legal preacher, to be gone out of his fields, and from under his ministry, and to leave his swine and husks;

and go to my father: not to his old companions in debauchery and sin; nor to his elder brother, the Pharisees; he had made trial of both these to his cost already; nor to his father's servants, but to his father himself; to which he was moved and encouraged, from his being ready to perish, from the fulness of bread in his father's house and from the relation he stood in to him; notwithstanding, all that had passed, he was his father, and a kind and merciful one: this shows, that he knew him as his father, having now the Spirit of adoption sent down into him; and the way unto him, which lies through Christ the mediator:

and will say unto him, father; or, "my father", as the Syriac and Persic versions read:

I have sinned against heaven; by preferring earthly things to heavenly ones; and have sinned openly in the face of the heavens, who were witnesses against him; and against God, who dwells in heaven. It was usual with the Jews to call God, "heaven"; See Gill on Matthew 21:25. They have this very phrase;

"there is a man, (say (b) they), who sins against earth, and he does not , "sin against heaven"; against heaven, and he does not sin against earth: but he that speaks with an ill tongue sins against heaven and earth, as it is said, Psalm 73:9 "they set their mouth against the heavens and their tongue walketh through the earth."''

And so the sense is, that he had sinned against God himself, and not merely against men, and human laws. All sin is a transgression of the law of God; and the thought of sin being committed against a God of infinite holiness, justice, goodness, grace, and mercy, is cutting to a sensible sinner: and this being the case, this man determined to go to God his Father, and him only, for the pardon of his sin, against whom it was committed. It is added,

and before thee; for he was now convinced of his omniscience. Sin may be committed against a man, and not before him, or he not know it; but whatever is committed against God, is before him, it is in his sight, he knows it: he is God omniscient, though sinners take no notice of this perfection of his, but go on in sin, as if it was not seen, known, and observed by God. But when God works powerfully and effectually upon the heart of a sinner, he convinces him of his omniscience, as this man was convinced: hence he determined to go to God, and acknowledge his sin before him; and that it was committed before him, and was in his sight; and that he could not be justified in his sight by any righteousness of his own; and therefore humbly desires pardon at his hands. This man's sense of sin and sorrow for it, and confession of it, appear very right and genuine, which he determined to express; they appear to be the convictions of the Spirit of God: it was not a sense of sin, and sorrow for it, as done before men, but God; and the concern was not so much for the mischief that comes by sin, as for the evil that was in it; and this did not drive him to despair, as in the cases of Cain and Judas, but brought him home to his father; and his confession appears to be hearty, sincere, and without excuse.

(b) Midrash Kohclet, in c. 9. 12. fol. 79. 4.

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