And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.” – 2 Peter 2:20-22 NLT
To a Jewish person, at the time of Jesus’ incarnation, pigs and dogs were not good things to be associated with. Pigs are like cockroaches to many Jewish and Muslim people. Dogs were non-believers, gentiles, the unsavable, a different breed, they were ravenous animals- dogs. The proverb listed above in v22, talks about our nature. Dogs do what dogs do, and eventually pigs do what pigs do. We are programmed through our NATURE. Human beings also have a NATURE, and it is against God. We are NATURALLY AT WAR WITH GOD. We read in the fifth chapter of Romans that we were the enemies of God before we were reconciled. And Romans also tells us, “For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will” Why does a dog bark? Because it is a dog. Why does a cat meow? Because it is a cat. This is the story about the PRODIGAL PIG. You know about the prodigal sons, but consider the prodigal pigs! In Luke 15, Jesus tells a story about a father who has two sons. The father is good and loving, but even still, the younger son rejects him. The younger son goes to the father, tells him he’s leaving home forever and asks for his share of the inheritance. The dad gives it to him, and the son goes off to see the world and blows all the money on sinful living. Eventually, he comes back, and to his surprise, his father welcomes him with open arms and a big welcome home party. During the festivities, the older brother shows up. He’s offended that his father has shown his brother grace. He yells at his dad, asserting that he’s always been faithful and is the one who deserves a party. See Luke 15:11-32, for the Biblical rendering of this story.
Leader, what about the son, who was he? Was he a PIG or was he a SON OF THE FATHER, acting like a pig? If the son would have died in the pigsty, would he have died a pig, or would he have died a SON OF THE FATHER, who was acting like a pig at the time of his passing? The Son would have still been a son, even though his behavior was that of a pig. That is what the parable of the prodigal pig is about. You can take a pig out of the mire, you can clean it up, you can teach it to talk, you can put a Bible in its hand, you can take it to etiquette classes, and teach it to memorize scripture, you can make it go to an event every Saturday\Sunday, you can put it in the FATHERS HOUSE- it is still a pig! Because of this thing called, NATURE, we go to what we know when we get comfortable or get backed against the wall. It is written; you can tell a man’s religion in times of despair. Eventually that cleaned up pig will revert to its nature and go back and wallow in the mire! This is why Jesus told Nicodemus, when asked how he might enter the kingdom of heaven, you must get a NEW NATURE- you must be BORN AGAIN. Hear the Word of the Lord; Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again. (John 3:3-7)
Conduit, just like a caterpillar is morphed into a butterfly, we must have a change of SPIRIT, of NATURE, and become a CHILD OF GOD! When a true change takes place, it is INSIDE-OUT, not outside-in! This is why Paul said to the church in Corinth; Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) In the original story of the PRODIGAL SON, it is the same thing going on as the proverb in 2 Peter 2:22- things return to their nature. The story in Luke is about the PRODIGAL SONS, it is about NATURE, and SPIRIT and how the 2 are at war. Whether we talk about the OLD MAN vs the NEW MAN, the FLESH vs SPIRIT, we are at war with our NATURE and only with a NEW NATURE can we become CHILDREN OF GOD! Make no mistake, the story is about the PRODIGAL SONS. The older son also rejected his father and his father’s love. We have a tendency to focus on the younger son. It is clear that he rejected his father and sought his personal desires. He thought there was a pleasure to be found, and it would mean he didn’t need his father. However, the older son also rejected his father. It was masked through self-sufficiency, morality, and works- he was RELIGIOUS. He thought he was so good he didn’t need his father. He DESERVED the father’s blessing. It was owed to him. He also didn’t really want his father’s love, but instead wanted his approval, and his stuff. If we think hard about it, the older brother and his rejection of the father is more the point of Jesus’ story. We’ve come to assume the parable is about the younger son, and think of it as good to share with people who are running from God. But Jesus told the story to religious people who felt like they deserved God’s love and sinful people did not. Jesus didn’t tell this story to get rebellious people to repent- He told it to get religious people to repent. The reason Jesus told this story was to address the objections of the religious legalists. They couldn’t understand why Jesus was teaching that God was for sinners who had rejected God. Jesus was teaching them, showing them that they had also rejected God, just in a different way! When our NATURE changes, our BEHAVIOR changes. This is why James says; Faith without works is dead! Because a Dog returns to its vomit and a sow after cleaning herself returns to the mire! TODAY, BE BORN AGAIN!