But the father told his slaves, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” So they began to celebrate.
The son finished his rehearsal of repentance, but the father doesn’t respond the way you would think: a father receiving back the son who had just spoilt his whole inheritance. The father tells the servants of the house to quickly get a robe—not any robe the best robe, not slowly but quickly. Jesus doesn’t give us what we deserve; He gives us what we are worth to Him. His praise of us is not based on our past, our actions, our sin, but on how much we are worth to Him. This best robe is the garment of praise we see in Isaiah 61 that God promised to give us in exchange for our despair. This exchange occurs as we receive salvation by faith through Jesus Christ. The Father’s grace is so powerful that it doesn’t just cover our sins; it gives us the ability to know who we are and gives us the freedom to praise God out of our new nature.
We are not praising God covered in pig’s mud and dust, our guilt and shame; we are praising God with the Father’s best garment on, praising Him out of the knowledge of how much He loves and values us. It is so out of this world—we could easily skip over how significant this is. It is fascinating the lack of praise we have for God and how readily we praise other people or other things, yet the Creator of all things, the Lover of our souls and the Giver of our very breath can be left with only the rocks to cry out for Him. Why? Because so many humans have not yet received their garment of praise. We are trying to praise God out of our sin rather than out of true forgiveness—His grace and His perfect love for us.
Is there a lack of praise for God in your life? Could it be that we are trying to praise God before receiving His love and realizing what He has done for us. To put on the garment of praise is to fully accept and receive salvation by grace. The younger brother could have easily become like the older brother who was living like a hired hand when the Father also had a garment of praise available for him.
Let us daily put on this garment of salvation and realize today how much we are worth to the Father. Out of this place of amazing grace may we truly bring glory back to our Father, Jesus Christ. This is what it means to be truly human, fully alive in Him.
// Pastor Josh Kelsey