1 Chronicles 29; 2 Peter 3; Micah 6; Luke 15
So Luke Chapter 15 has the Pharisees and scribes grumbling about Jesus not only receiving tax collectors and sinners, but he is even eating with them. Jesus responds to their grumbling with several parables that should make the heart of every sinner rejoice-and I my dear friends am a sinner, a sinner saved by grace. I have heard these parables since I was a child, and yet they have my attention this morning as I create a picture in my head of verse 7. Jesus ends the first parable about the lost sheep with these words, "Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." Think about that. A party of sorts happens in heaven when one sinner repents-there is rejoicing, there is great joy as Jesus goes on to say at the end of the next parable, "Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents." -v.10. And then Jesus tell of the Prodigal Son and ends on this note, "It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found." -v.32.
We were all there, we were all dead, we were all lost until Jesus came looking for us-perhaps some reading this are still in that state. Oh, but God has done a marvelous thing and Ephesians 2:1-9 says it this way, "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—" We were dead because of our sins, but God has made us alive through Christ! Again, in Romans 6:23 God says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." We were sinners deserving of death, but the wonderful free gift we have from God is eternal life. As Colossians 2:13 says, "And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses."
We were dead in our sins but God made us alive through Christ, and in that process ALL of our sins were forgiven. Do you believe that? Do I live as one whose every sin- past, present, and future- has already been forgiven? Do I live like one who has received such a marvelous, unimaginable gift? There was rejoicing in heaven the day I repented of my sins and accepted this free gift of God's. It is a party that happens every time a sinner repents and receives life, every time a lost one is found by God. What a picture that paints of God's love for us. So what now? Well, as Peter states in the close of his second letter, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."
Grace, Peace, and Mercy,