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.” Luke 15:9-10 NIV
As in the previous story Jesus stresses the joy of heaven over ONE sinner who repents. As Jesus stared in the faces of countless critics and seekers, he points out again how valuable one life is to God Himself.
Once again Jesus reminds his listeners that the love of God for sinners urges them to “repent”—to change the way they think and live so they can experience life as it was meant to be. God loves sinners, but He rejoices when even one sinner repents and turns away from the sinner and turns to the Savior.
I believe repentance is what is missing in much of the preaching and teaching about grace today. We have so stressed the grace and love of God that we have overshadowed the critical importance of repentance. I fear part of the reason revolves around the reality that we have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature and consequences of sin.
In the text when Jesus speaks of the “one sinner” he uses the Greek word which literally means “to miss the mark” like shooting at a target with a rifle or bow and arrow and to miss the intended target or it meant “to err or to wander” like one who is lost or has lost their way.
To put it another way sin leads to death—or as Paul put it so succinctly “the wages of sin is death.” When God gave us the Ten Commandments and all the other laws and directives in the Bible it was not that He was trying to rob us of a good time or be the ultimate party popper. No, His commandments represented his love for us. He knew all too well that our sinful choices would only hurt and harm us. Sin by its very nature destroys health, happiness, and life. Sin robs us of life as it as it was meant to be. So you can see why God celebrates and rejoices when a sinners repents or changes the way he or she thinks and lives.