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Parables Of Jesus Christ: The Lost Son
The Messiah's parable of the lost son (also known as the parable of the profligate son; profligate means recklessly wasteful):
"15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 15:12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
"Thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found"
The word "lost" literally means to be loose, or on the loose (lose and loose are merely different spellings of the same word). The lost son became loose (again, for example, the common connection between how the "lost" have "loose morals"), but upon realizing the error of his ways, he repented to God ("Father, I have sinned against heaven") - for which his father, and his Father, forgave him. The father, and The Father, weren't condoning the wrong, but were accepting the son's turning back to the right.
"15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 15:19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father.
There are true Christian people who have lived a good Christian life, as best as humanly possible, right from the time that they were little children. They read and studied the Word of God and have always worked hard to live according to it, faithfully and steadfastly. Does anyone doubt that such people will very much deserve to be in the Kingdom of God? It's an easy question, isn't it. Of course they do. They are represented in the parable by the son who remained responsible and obedient to what was right.
On the other hand, there are people who have lived very unChristian lives, some until they were young adults, some until they were middle aged, some even until they were in old age, but who did eventually repent and become good Christians too. By the time that they die, they may have only lived according to the Word of God for the last half, or the last quarter, or even the last year of their lives. But they too will receive the same salvation as the others. They are represented in the parable by the repentant "lost" son.
Some may not think that is "fair," as the elder son in the parable didn't, at first, but that in itself is the point of the parable. The different times of the parable represent the once in a lifetime (see No U Turns On The Road To Life) opportunity when those who begin to know better must do better. Some people learn the Truth early, some people learn it later, but whenever it's heard that is when the choice must be made. Time differences in this physical life are irrelevant to the timeless eternity (see also How Old Is God?) that will come for those who repent.
"15:25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. 15:26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 15:27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
Fact Finder: What does "bind and loose" mean?