Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Gospel Within the Gospel

Quoting from Joe Strieter's paper on the parable of the prodigal son, titled "Life and Death in the Village: The Parable of the Two Lost Sons":
Almost all commentators agree that this parable is THE parable of grace, that as the father runs to meet his son, falls on his neck, kissing him, places on him sandals, the best robe, the ring, so it is with God our Father. For centuries it has been called “Evangelium in Evangelio”—the Gospel within the Gospel.
“This is the crown of the parables, an evengelium in evangelio, which has no equal in all literature. We first see the Lord and the Church going out to seek and to save: we now see the sinner more clearly and the change that is wrought in him as he is saved.”
A portion of Joe's conclusion reads:
Repentance, brought about by law, the Gospel’s servant (paidagogos, Galatians 3:24), is pure Gospel. Driven in desperation to his father’s house, his “hired hand” speech on his lips, the prodigal is “enfolded in his fathers arms”, and, as he realizes the depth of his father’s love, his repentance is complete. No reparations are required. Lenski (Luke) presents a thorough understanding of grace—he has been forgiven “while he was still a long way off.” The prodigal’s hired servant plan is nuanced, and most commentaries (including Lenski) miss its true purpose:
What is the true purpose of the prodigal's plan that Lenski has missed? Well I think I'll just let you answer that question by reading the paper, which you can find here. It'll be worth the trip.

photo credit: Lawrence OP

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