And he said, A certain man had two sons:…
All will admit that the angels in light have ever been, and ever are, with God; but the question has sometimes been keenly discussed among critics and theologians, "May it be said that, during this dispensation of the Holy Spirit, some children have been so admirably trained, that they have never wholly left their Heavenly Father, but have been 'ever with Him'?" A sermon was once preached on this parable, by an earnest minister of the gospel, during a series of revival meetings, in which he went the length of saying that "it might be maintained concerning those who 'could not recollect a time when they did not love Christ,' that, like the elder son, they had never left their Father. They might be imperfect like him, and need forgiveness, as he evidently needed it — still they had never wholly left their Father." In supporting this position, the preacher could not see that he was doing any disrespect to the grace of God. Indeed, he was rather magnifying it, since God had promised to be the God of His people's seed, as well as their own God. When I was asked my opinion concerning this representation, I replied that I was inclined to go that length myself. There seems still to be such a thing as being "called from the womb." Observe, this tenet does not involve a denial of human depravity. It does not amount to the assertion that any responsible human being has lived an absolutely perfect life, being literally free from sin, except the Lord Jesus Christ. It only ventures humbly to express the hope, to the praise of the glory of God's grace, that where there has been much parental prayer and exemplary religious education, "the first springs of thought and will" may have been so early gained for the Redeemer, that the soul, although conscious of waywardness and sin, and therefore needing atoning blood, has never been wholly withdrawn from God's fold, so that He could say to such a follower near the end of his course, "Son, thou hast ever been and ever art near Me."
(F. Ferguson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, A certain man had two sons: