In Luke 15:7, the Lord Jesus Christ tells his disciples, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” In saying this, Christ conveys some very basic truths to his disciples about God, man, sin, and the Gospel. Whether these truths are believed by faith or not will mean the difference between eternal life as God’s redeemed or never-ending torments in a place reserved for those who “believeth not the Son,” (John 3:36). Let’s open up Christ’s words here using the light of the rest of the word of God.
God, who made the heavens, the earth, and all things in them, is eternal and perfect, needing nothing. “The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works,” (Psalm 145:7). Even so, the Lord is one who “delighteth in mercy” (Micah 7:18) and “seeks a godly seed” (Malachi 2:15). To be accepted and to have communion with this holy God is to know perfect joy, everlasting life, and freedom from sin.
“God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions,” (Ecclesiastes 7:29). On the sixth day, when God made man, God proclaimed that all was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Man was created upright, with an accurate knowledge of God and an innate righteousness that allowed him to freely commune with his holy Creator. Because man sinned against God, knowledge of God was corrupted and man’s original righteousness was forfeit. Adam’s posterity lack original righteousness (good standing before God) and instead, we inherit the fallen nature of our earthly father. Paul writes in Romans 5, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin,” and, “death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression,” and, again, “through the offence of one many be dead.”
We stand utterly condemned by our sinful deeds, words, thoughts, and even ungodly attitudes which have not yet manifested themselves as thoughts. We would be rightly cast off by God as transgressors, consigned by our own sin to suffer under his wrath forever. However, because God is exceeding merciful (Exodus 34:6, Psalm 103:8) and he takes no pleasure in the destruction of the sinner (Ezekiel 33:11), a Gospel door has been thrown open by which sinners may enter into fellowship with God forever.
The Gospel door has been thrown open by Christ, but Christ is clear that faith and repentance are the only way through. “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” (Luke 13:5). The sinner must forsake his way and, turning to the Lord in faith, cry to him for mercy and forgiveness in Christ. There is “joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” Luke 15:10 i.e. the Lord himself takes special delight in the turning of sinners from their sin unto himself.
Will you hold out against such a merciful Saviour as the Lord Jesus Christ? Christ came into the world and was crucified for sinners, that they might be reconciled to God. Come quickly to the Lord Jesus Christ. The day of the Gospel has dawned, but the night is coming in which no man can work. Forsake your sin this instant, knowing that, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy,” (Proverbs 28:13).