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In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we tend to focus on the son who takes his inheritance and squanders it, and we pay very little attention to the older son who stayed with the father. At the end of the parable, the older son becomes upset because of all the attention the younger son receives from the father. The father addresses the older son in Luke 15:31-32, 31 ” ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ “ Jesus was referring to the Pharisees in reference to the older son because they were against giving the inheritance of the Jews to the gentiles. But this is why Jesus came in the first place. He came to save all people who believe in Him, not just the Jews. The privilege of the Jews is because the Messiah came through Jewish lineage, not that salvation came exclusively for them.

The same thing applies to us in the modern “church”. Salvation is not exclusive to those who live righteous lives. Nowhere does Jesus say we must be righteous before we become saved. A righteous life does not exist without salvation from Jesus and the Holy Spirit living in our lives. Let us not confuse the sin in someone’s life with God’s ability to cleanse us from all unrighteousness as John wrote in 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.