“Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
“…As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,
but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways”
Reading a devotion by Charles Spurgeon this morning, two lines really resonated as I read them:
“…that He, the offended God, should then be willing to receive the vilest of the vile, this is marvelous.”
“When Jesus receives sinners, He has not some out-of-doors reception place…
but He…receives the sinner right into Himself.”
What great hope is here. What great love. The great, infinitely holy God – Creator of all, Giver of life, sovereign Ruler of the universe – willingly and rejoicingly receives sinners.
This extends beyond those who commit “small” sins, though they need salvation just as desperately. It reaches – He reaches – to include “the vilest of the vile.” Those whose eyes many of us would refuse to meet. Those who have committed acts so wicked, our hearts cry out for justice and break for those so wronged. Those we might rejoice to see destroyed, declaring justice done.
Jesus Christ came for them as well. God reaches to receive them as well, if they will hear His call, turn from their wickedness, and trust in the marvelous hope that is Christ. These will be received and all of heaven will rejoice: a sinner has been saved, a child brought home, a soul awakened to life! Glory be to the Lamb whose blood has ransomed and rescued this soul for God!
And for all who trust Him, whatever our level of darkness and sin, Jesus receives each of us personally. It is not a casual reception; He receives us into Himself. One with Him and with God, abiding in the vine and in His love, that our joy may be full.
Our desires and our actions for justice are not wrong – they are a reflection of the image of God in us, our God who is just and will one day right every wrong and rid the world of all darkness. But let us rejoice greatly that the cross is justice as well. It is justice for me, for you, for each one who turns to Christ. God extends grace and mercy to us, life and freedom, because justice has been fully satisfied. Christ’s death was enough. Christ’s death was required, and it covers us fully. Justice will be fully done, either finished at the cross, or in an individual if they reject this great and costly salvation.
Oh, let us pray fervently for each to accept Him! May our heart’s cry be that they will turn to Christ, for the salvation of their soul, the redemption of their story, for the glory of God.
Lord God, give us a heart for all people, that our greater desire will be that these people whom You love so greatly and for whom You gave Your life will accept the salvation offered through Your cross. May we abundantly rejoice to see sinners – even the vilest of the vile – give their lives to You, forever covered by the grace of God. This is Your heart.
O Lord, make it our heart as well.