Which brother came to understand his father's love first? The one who asked for the Father's wealth. The Father gave it to both of them at the same time. The younger used it & abused it. The older ignored it & slaved away as if it was never given to him.
The older son said to the father, "I have been serving you & slaving for you & I have never neglected a command of yours. But you have never given me something so that I might celebrate." But the father had already given Him everything. The older son was obedient but bitter, serving but surly, slaving but sullen. He was rich but lived like a slave. Freedom & riches can make people go wild & do stupid things for a while but look at the opposite of freedom.. slavery. I repeat the opposite of freedom is SLAVERY. Those who want to put you under the law in any way or want to take you out from under grace (even a little) want you to see yourself as a poor obedient slave rather than a free, rich, & partying son.
"How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1)
The younger son, while he was gone, became poor & hired himself out. When returning to his father he wanted to be his father's slave. The father wouldn't even hear it. He said, "Son lets party! I'm so glad we're together!" This son knew he was free but he had no clue about how much the father loved him so he went out to party without his father. That's the difference. Knowing you are free & even knowing you are rich does not mean you know you are loved. Grace is God's love for you. The good news of grace never makes someone live destructively. It is the message of freedom that does so. The truth of freedom without the truth of grace is harmful. You can party with your Father or party without your Father. Regardless of which you choose your Father isn't going to love you any less. He won't even acknowledge your mistakes as something shameful.
Those who refuse freedom judge those who accept it. They say, "Look at the terrible things they've done with your freedom Father." And they list to God & others the things their brothers have done. They stand like Satan, accusing the brethren before God. The Father just says, "You've got the freedom, riches, & even the party throwing love of mine that your brother has. Enjoy it! But know I won't hear it when someone speaks ill of my children, so you're wasting your breath."
[This post was also used as a response to Michael Brown's Hyper-Grace Horror Stories]