Now at last I have come to the last part of the book. It’s rare that I finish a book. Making a public promise gives me that little push to complete it. So I am glad to announce this Good Friday: “It is finished – the reading of this book of course.”
Chapter 19: Receive the Father’s love for you
This chapter has interesting insights into the parable of the Prodigal Son or some say the Waiting Father. JP does a good job of showing that this is all about the waiting father’s prodigal lavish love and grace to both of his sons. The first son was accepted even though his motive for returning home was suspect with self-interest, and his mentality is one of works – “Let me try to earn my keep by working for you like one of your hired servants”. The second son, also had that same works mentality: “I have slaved for you all these years and you never gave me what I deserved, but this son who never deserved anything, has a barbecued fatted calf!” Both sons showed the flawed but common approach to Christian life of many Christians.
Joseph Prince himself personally does confess and admit his wrong to God (310) but it is done as one already forgiven, as one secure and deeply loved: “Do I say “sorry” to God and confess my sins when I have fallen short and failed? Of course I do. But I do it not to be forgiven because I know that I am already forgiven through Jesus’ finished work. The confession is out of the overflow of my heart because I have experienced his goodness and grace and because I know that as His son, I am forever righteous through Jesus’ blood. It springs from being righteousness-conscious, not sin-conscious; from being forgiveness-conscious, not judgement-conscious. There is a massive difference.” An earlier quote (308,309) shows the belief he finds harmful: “Some people think that fellowship with God can only be restored when you are perfectly contrite and have perfectly confessed all your sins. They think that you must apologize to God before He can be appeased. Please understand that I have nothing against saying “sorry” to God or confessing our sins. All I am saying is that we are not as important as we make ourselves out to be. The father was the initiator. Before the son even had thoughts of returning home, the father had already missed him, was already looking out for him, and had already forgiven him. Before the son could utter a single word of his rehearsed apology, the gather had already run to him, embraced him, and welcomed him home.” I thought it good to quote extensively here, as there has been some controversy and confusion about JP’s statements about confessing sins that are often not accurate reflections of his understanding. Hope this clarifies and settles some dust from your eyes.
Chapter 20: Be transformed by the Father’s love
The focus in this chapter is our propensity to try to earn the Lord’s love and favour. JP demonstrates that both sons had that mentality. Believers therefore need to come to a place of believing and receiving God’s love and let it transform them. All his love and spiritual resources and blessings are already ours not because of our perfect performance but His perfect finished work. And when we learn to receive God’s love, we will be empowered to live free from the pig sty life that the prodigal son would never think of going back to after experiencing the love of the father.
Chapter 21: Finding rest in the Father’s love
The best way to sum up this last chapter is to quote a “simple but critical truth”, one that you should memorize “even if you forget everything else you have read in this book”. Here it goes: “As a child of God, no matter what happens in your life, your Father in heaven loves you dearly and nothing you do can ever change that.” Believing this will free you from the performance trap; give you power to overcome mistakes, failures and sins in your life; triumph over temptation; and make you unshakeable.