Difficult Texts

"But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet."

Some have used this Scripture to justify the wearing of jewellery, but remember that this story is a parable and all the characters and events are symbolic of spiritual realities. God is represented by the father in the story, and the children could be any of us who profess to be in His family.

Primarily the love and compassion of God is portrayed in dealing with the backslider. His willingness to forgive and accept the repentant prodigal stands out as the major theme. All the actions of the father toward the returning son represent specific attitudes of God in restoring those who seek forgiveness.

The placing of the father's coat around his son's rags symbolises the imputed righteousness of God, which must cover our miserable sins and failures. The sign of servitude was removed when the father commanded that shoes be placed on his feet--an act signifying acceptance into the rights of sonship. Then, finally, the signet ring was placed on the prodigal's finger to represent the restoration to full authority in conducting the family business interests. Such rings were not worn as ornaments, but for the practical necessities of signing official documents and discharging legal obligations (Esther 3:10; 8:2). To use this parabolic incident to defend modem ornamentation is totally unreasonable and unbiblical.

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