Read Luke Chapter 15
Lk 15:3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Lk 15:8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Jesus presented two parables to make His point. In both instances, there is a dilemma and a joyous conclusion. A lost sheep and a lost coin are the dilemmas. The joyous conclusion in both is that the lost possession has been found, which brings about a joyous celebration. That lost sheep, that lost coin, has been found.
But the final conclusion of both is the important ingredient in both situations. “There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than….” “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Note something in these conclusions which we never, or rarely, hear. The rejoicing isn’t over one sinner who comes to Jesus for forgiveness. The happiness is because a sinner has repented! By now you surely know that repentance is a subject which has been in the forefront of my bible studies for a long time. Almost every time I open the bible, some passage about repentance jumps off the page and into my heart.
In our world today, repentance isn’t something we hear often. Even in our churches we rarely hear any messages on the need for repentance. Yet, it is an often recurring theme in God’s word. These two parables are pointing us to something which is extremely important. Every man and woman who expects to spend eternity with God must be a repentant sinner. The unrepentant man and woman will not be found in Heaven.
The examples in these two parables are impossible to ignore. The heavens rejoice when a sinner repents. The angels of God rejoice when a sinner repents. Not only is there rejoicing, there is MORE rejoicing over one sinner who repents than the amount of rejoicing over the righteous, who do not need to repent.
What does this mean for the SSA man and woman? As I look at it, it tells me that your repentance and my repentance are joyfully received in Heaven. Our Father and our Savior are extremely joyful when we repent over our failures. Our Lord is not sitting in Heaven, waiting for us to fret and stew over our sinfulness before accepting our sincere repentance. He isn’t weighing out the options – “Do I forgive, or do I refuse to forgive?” He openly welcomes and joyfully receives our prayers in which we confess and repent. We don’t have to wonder if He will forgive. There is no question but that He anxiously waits to do so. Praise God!! We owe Him our complete devotion and loyalty.
Prayer: Lord, we thank You again, as we once again ponder the greatness of our right-standing with You. We thank You for joyfully receiving our repentance. Such a thought is too wonderful for us to comprehend!!