Luke 15-17

LUKE 15-17

To Live Right, Think Right

Sin is mental illness. Man was not created a rebel
but became one when he used his power of
choice to disobey God’s.

Bill Burkett

I have several Scriptures I consider to be my life verses which I often meditate on and use to support me when I go through a difficult time. I want to share this Scripture with you with the desire that it will help you as it has so greatly helped me through the years. My verse is found in 2 Corinthians 10:5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Luke was allowed of God to include in his gospel many wonderful teachings of Christ that were not in the other gospels. One of those accounts teachings was the story of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-24) who made many foolish decisions that carried his life downward into ruination and hopeless despair living and eating with the pigs. It may be asked, what does 2 Corinthians 10:5 have to do with the parable of the Prodigal Son? A whole lot, as we will see.

Luke, inspired by the Holy Ghost, used a very interesting phrase in the Greek language not known in the English translation. But several very choice words Luke as a physician would be very familiar with are used by Jesus that gives a wonderful depth to this particular time of decision in the mind of the prodigal. It explains with great depth the true condition of men who try to live their lives without God’s wisdom and governing influence.

Only Jesus could reach into the young man’s mind and tell to the world his thoughts. As he stood there with the pigs snorting and rooting in the dry ground around him, I see him slowly turning while in thought, until he was facing in the direction of his Father’s house over the distant horizon. He could not see his Father’s house with his eyes, but as he squinted his eyes looking steadfastly toward home he could see his Father’s house in his mind. He could see the faces of the happy servants, the familiar table laden with food and setting in their places and the shepherds in the fields.

But when Jesus revealed the thoughts of the prodigal’s mind and what conclusions he came to as his mind went far beyond what his eyes could see and started remembering how good it was in those days when he was still at home with his Father and brother. He then remembered his Father’s servants surrounded by their families in their humble dwellings with their family gathered around them after a long hard day in the fields. And then he thought musingly . . . “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I parish with hunger!”

And then Luke recorded these words of Jesus; And when he came to himself. This is three very common Greek words in the original language in which this text was originally written. In fact, these are very common words in most languages. But when used together they form a very special expression that reveals what sin has done to people who are away from God. Some Greek authorities say these words in this combination was a Greek medical term referring to a person who returns from a state of mental illness to his or her right mind. So, while these words are found elsewhere in the New Testament, they are not found in this combination as a medical term as doctor Luke uses them here.

By using this expression Jesus was saying that prior to this moment when he remembered his Father’s house he was not in his right mind. But after he started thinking correctly – he had come to himself – he was returning from his mental illness. But he was actually living in rebellion and gross sin. We therefor conclude that when anyone openly rebels against God that he is mentally ill, or, spiritually or morally retarded.

If he “came to himself” it means that he was not himself until he made the morally correct decision to return to his father and admit he had sinned against heaven and against his father by leaving home and living contrary to the law of God. For the first time he was thinking correctly! When he came to himself means that he was not behaving normal so long as he lived in rebellion against God.

When people rebel against the truth of God they are not thinking right. When a man returns to his creator and says, “I’m going to stop living like this and return to the God I have rejected and scorned the goodness and mercy of God long enough. Now I want to be the kind of person I really know I should be, and the kind of person only God’s grace can help me be,” that man has come to himself.

When a person does not think right, they are demented. Sin and rebellion against God is a form of mental illness, no matter how intelligent you are, that leads those who rebel against God to eternal damnation if they continue on in sin-sickness.

But the life of the prodigal also reveals something very precious that we should all remember in case we get into the same hopeless condition the prodigal found himself in. It reveals that no matter how far down the path of rebellion a man may go – if he will stop and reflect, and look toward the Father’s house, he can be forgiven and restored and all that was lost can be regained if we follow through, return to the Father, and confess how we have sinned against him.

Remember the Gadarene? how that when Jesus cast the demons out of him and the men of that city came out to see him that they found him clothed and in his right mind. The life Jesus has touched thinks good and follows the Christ that has redeemed him.

The mark of a Christian is that his thinking is aligned with the Word of God. God’s Word teaches us how to think straight and be mentally sound in taught by grace to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. As many have heard me say in pulpits across this land and around the world that, To live right men must think right. To walk on the straight and narrow path that leads to life everlasting, I must think straight.

When Jesus comes for the Bride, He will be coming for those who have repented of their sins and are clothed and in their right mind.

For further study see Creatures of Choice 

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