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.
Do we really understand the implications of this statement of Jesus or do we simply read it, qualify it and move on? Yes, another gut wrenching question to consider. It seems Jesus often poses such truths; i.e. indirect questions, to those who seek to faithfully follow Him. Think about it. One grumbling, rebellious, hateful, condemning, worldly sinner who turns his face to Christ and pledges his life to God sparks a greater party in Heaven than 99 good people who always do what is right. That’s just seems wrong! The implications are more than I can fathom.
Our good deeds seem so important. So significant. Our faithfulness speaks of the goodness of God and His righteousness. Our love for each other demonstrates to the world that we are His. Our encouraging words reveal our transformed hearts. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yet, none of it brings the joy in Heaven that a repenting sinner brings. It doesn’t even compare. To use a mathematical analogy, the righteousness of the faithful makes up only 1% of the joy in Heaven. 1%! The repentance of the sinful makes up the other 99%.
The implications are really quite clear, maybe that’s why this truth Jesus spoke is so significant. Heaven rejoices over the penitent heart. Repenting sinners make God so happy that the party in His presence rocks Heaven itself. May God give us the grace and humility to rejoice when Heaven rejoices. Maybe, just maybe, as we see the sinner turn we might also hear the angels sing and sing along ourselves.
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…