ECENTLY we examined 2 things that bring intense pleasure in God's heart: faith & love. Allow an expansion on that topic. What causes all of heaven to rejoice? How about the choice of an earthling to move from unbelief to belief; from hate to love, or, in the case of a backslidden believer, his return to faith & love?
Jesus loves sinners; there is no doubt about that (Luke 15:2). But what does He love to do with them? He doesn't love to leave us in our sins. He rescues the lost sheep and brings it home (Luke 15:3-6). Luke 15:7 tells us that Jesus said, "Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents…" (see also Luke 15:10). Make the message clear and plain: Christ joyfully receives sinful men!
Now, Luke 15:12-32 includes a well-known story of repentance and redemption. This is the story of the prodigal son – or of the self-righteous brother – or of the gracious father – or of a good reason to rejoice. There are several different emphases from which to choose. In context it seems that the last option is the best one.
God loves sinners. "For God so loved the world that He gave…" (John 3:16)! We should rescue the perishing because this pleases and thrills our Savior. There is joy in heaven when a sinner repents. This is surely the best way of all for us to invest in eternity. There can be nothing wiser than doing a thing that will make God smile.