The Four Expectations of the Heavenly Father


Of the many parables told by Jesus Christ, this writer feels that the “Parable of the Two Sons” (Luke 15:11-32) not only truly reveals the great and patient love of the Heavenly Father towards those that belong to Him, it also shows that after receiving the grace of salvation, the children of God should learn four spiritual lessons in the House of God (the Church). These four lessons are also the four expectations that the Father has towards His children. They are as follows:


  1. Return - “For this son of mine … was lost and is found.” (v. 24) The father waited day and night for the return of the younger son to home. Jesus Christ said on many occasions that when a sinner repents and turns back, there will be great joy in heaven for him. Returning home signifies a sinner acknowledging his sin, repenting of sin and leaving sin. Guided by the light of the Holy Spirit, he turns away from the lost path and goes back to the Heavenly Father. Through faith in Jesus, who rose from the dead, he receives the standing of a child of God. The first expectation of the Heavenly Father to us, who have turned back to Him, is not just to gain the life of the Son of God, but also to be received by the all-abundant, all-fulfilling Lord so that we belong to Him forever.


  1. Change – “This brother of yours was dead and is alive again …” (v. 32) Those who are risen from the dead have the experience of rebirth. His life is greatly changed because of Jesus Christ. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” The house of God (the Church) is filled with prodigal sons. Some may no longer wander afar, yet they are still wasting within. They do not know how to treasure the grace and opportunity given by God. Perhaps they had once seen the light during hardship, but when they’re back at the Father’s house, they only want to be slouches in the House of God, and do not want to testify for Him. The return of the prodigal son not only means ending a life of wandering, but also abandoning a prodigal son’s attitude of living. The wish of the Father to His reborn children is to have a complete change in their lives and attitude of living, so that they can have lives that belong in Heaven.


  1. Accept – “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.” (v. 28) In the parable, the father was equally patient with the elder son who could not accept his younger brother. He personally went out to comfort and counsel this self-righteous and self-pitying son. In His last admonition and instruction to His disciples before leaving the earth, Jesus Christ asked them to humbly serve and love one another. The greatest lesson for those who have received the grace of salvation, growing up in the House of God, is to abandon self-conceit, self-righteousness and self-pitying, accept the brothers who have been purchased and redeemed by the Lord’s precious blood, and learn to love each other. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7)


  1. Inherit – “'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.’” (v. 31) In the parable, the elder son would soon inherit the bountiful estate of his father. Thank God! He also has made the promise that we who have become God’s children through faith in Jesus Christ may become heirs having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7), to inherit all of the bounty of God. The will of the Heavenly Father is not just that we may inherit all of His external glory and bounty, but that we may also possess His inner character. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4) The substance of God’s children is to possess the character of the Lord and to manifest the bountiful and glorious life of the Son of God.


By: Daniel To