Read Luke 15:11-32
In the beautiful and familiar story of the prodigal son we see how our relationship with God is meant to work. The young son rebels from his father, demands his inheritance(which could be done legally and was a strong slap in the face for the father. The Son took the money and ran as afar away as he could to the fartheresr place away from his Dad. So a reconciliation is needed. Whenever the relationship is broken like that the greater of the two must be the one to initiate the reconciliation so the Father goes looking for the son. "When he was a great way off his Father saw him". This action pictures the cross because, in Jewish society, it was humiliating for a Father(already humiliated by his son)to go searching for a wayward child. This picture is Christ seeking us: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself"(II Cor. 5:21). Our sins never ultimately separate us from God. The only unpardonable sin is unbelief.(when we refuse to come to Him who calls us the Himself) God's work is to come for us.
Our work is to say "yes". The prodigal son comes to his senses and decides to go home. He has enough faith to think that at least his Dad will take him back as a servant. He rehearses a speech but when his Father sees him he does not give the son a chance to say it. The father gives robe, ring, and shoes to his son and throws a big party. The dynamic of faith at work here is this: When something is desirable and available we can make it actual by speaking a word of faith("He said...I will go to my father...") and it then becomes reliable as it actually happens("faith is the substance of things not seen" Heb. 11:1) So here is the son's faith: The abundant life of a son is desirable, available, becomes actual and reliable.
The older son is upset about this upstart getting the royal treatment. He thinks he has earned his Dad's favor(vs. 29). He doesn't understand grace. His Father says, "all that is mine is yours" but the older boy doesn't get. So he becomes another prodigal(wasting grace by doing trying to please the Father by works). All this time the older brother could have had and still can have the true life of a son--it is there any time he wants it!
The younger son just receives what he knows he doesn't deserve. The older son tries to earn what he thinks he deserves. God's abundant resurrection power is ours. We don't earn it to start and we don't try to finish it on our own. It is "grace upon grace"(John 1:16) which is God's work and "faith to faith"(Romans 1:17) which is our work(John 5:28,29). Grace is giving(from God). Faith is receiving(from God). Notice the story doesn't end. We don't know if the older brother ever came to the party. And we don't know if the younger one stayed. It is Christ's open invitation to us to rest in Him and enjoy his Life forever.