The Joy of Repentance
Luke 15:7 “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
Repentance is a change in my mind, heart’s love, and direction of my life. It effects my whole being.
And as God’s children, we are to repent, often. And the first step in repentance is….coming to Christ in honesty.
This verse has to do with the sheep that was lost…..being found.
Luke 15:4-5 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders rejoicing.”
Sheep are stubborn animals. They can be follow you like a pet….or determine to go somewhere they should not…
They are weak animals….unable to run very fast….or to save themselves from their fierce enemies.
They need a Shepherd….leading, and protecting them; yet often, go away from the Shepherd….and get hurt.
But in this parable, this sheep is “gone away”….is lost……and knows it.
Some sheep, try and find their own way home….but this, too, is “our own way”….and it does not work.
And some cry out….till the Shepherd who is looking for them….hears and comes to deliver.
Now we could speculate as to how that sheep got lost…..whether it wandered off, when the others were resting in pasture….wanting to see what is over there.
Or whether he was lost by staying back away from the rest of the flock…and especially from the Shepherd;….
How the sheep was lost is a matter of individual sins…….and for everyone of us, it is different…..and yet, the same……it is “our own way”…….for we are that sheep:
Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
1 Peter 2:25 “For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
Psalm 119:176 “I have gone astray like a lost sheep: seek thy servant; for I do not forget Thy commandments.”
But we did not stay lost…..the Shepherd found us…..for He went after us….and found us.
Ezekiel 34:11 “For thus saith the Lord God; behold, I, even I, will both search My sheep, and seek them out.”
The Lord is ever the One to seek for us.
We are lost….we may know it and may cry out for it…..but it is the Lord, our Shepherd, that seeks and finds us.
Repentance is the change of mind, heart, and will.
You change your mind about sin…..and God.
Once God was your enemy (Romans 8:7)….
Someone Who seemed to make demands with out any pity (Ephesians 2:2-3)…
….but now you see that it is sin that is making the demands….and demanding more and more…..
……it is taking over your personality. What was…”I will try it…just once”…..becomes a need….then a ruler.
Whereas, God is standing ready to deliver….if we will see the truth and repent….or change our mind (and God helps us, if we will come to Him)….and receive Him (John 1:12)
You change your heart’s love of sin.
And this comes as the sin gets less “something to get by with”………and becomes a burden…a weight which can not be shrugged off.
You change your will.
(Our will is our active part of us. In our minds we imagine….our hearts yearn or lust….but our wills activate us.)
When we will not to sin….we are turning from it…..
John 7:17 “If any man will do His Will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.”
Acts 2:37-39 “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
Acts 20:21 “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Repentance leads to joy….God’s joy over your salvation….and our joy in Christ.
Romans 5:10-11 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement.”
We are like sheep, who have gone astray….to “my own way”…..yet Christ came to “seek and to save them that are lost” (Luke 19:10).
And when He found us….He picked us up out of our sin….placed us upon His shoulders (the place of strength)….and brought us into His fold…..where He leads us day by day.
John 10:11, 27-28 “I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.”
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.”
As sheep, we are often wandering…..but thankfully we have our Shepherd….Who comes after us…..leading us again in repentance….
….and into joy.