I have some really good news for everyone today It’s not just good news; it’s preposterously Good News. It’s an Old Testament statement of a New Testament reality. (You see, God’s been at this for a long time.)
“I, the Lord, made you, and will not forget to help you. I have swept away your sins like the morning mists. I have scattered your offenses like the clouds. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.” (Isaiah 44:21-22)
There it is: God forgave us first, then He invites us home.
It could just as easily have been: Return to me and I will forgive your sins. That would have been remarkable enough. But instead, it’s: Come home because you’ve already been forgiven.
This was precisely the case for the prodigal son. He was forgiven before he ever reached the front driveway. That’s why his old man was running to meet him. There was no discussion. No: “I hope you learned your lesson.” He didn’t even get a chance to ask for forgiveness, for it had already been granted. His rehearsed confession never got out of his mouth. He was smothered by His Father’s love and the plans for his joyous welcome home party.
This is our message to the world: You have already been forgiven, so come on home. Christ has already paid the price to set you free. He has removed the barrier between God and us. How can anyone resist so great a love? No wonder Paul calls it Good News. Can you imagine anything better when it comes to God and our sin?
We know we are guilty. Our consciences tell us that. We know the demands of the law. We have the commandments for that, and we aren’t doing very well by them. We know that if we mess up in just one thing, we are charged with breaking the whole law. God does not grade on the curve. Instead, He offers us a blanket pardon — the only thing that could ever save us.
“Oh, return to me, for I have [already] paid the price to set you free.”
That’s just nothing short of preposterously good news.
This is the essence of the Gospel of Welcome. Everything has already been done. Every barrier has been removed. Every price has been paid. You don’t have to chant, say the right words, pray, crawl on your hands and knees, flog yourself, complete the requirements, jump through any hoops, do two years of missionary service, renounce your former life … you only have to get on home. Arms are open wide. All is forgiven. Welcome home.
If you came home today, or recently, we want to know about it. Let us know in your reply or send a private email to firstname.lastname@example.org.