In the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous ones who do not need to repent.” Lk 15:7
There’s great joy in heaven for the 1 man who repents and comes to the Lord. Sure enough. But what about these other 99?
Why do the 99 not need to repent? The answer is simple. These are Christians who are repenting all of the time. These are Christians. They don’t need to be sought and found because they are walking in the light, always repenting, always forgiven, always rejoicing.
The 99 are people who always live with a good conscience. It doesn’t mean they are always sinless. But when they sin, they repent quickly, and they are forgiven. Their conscience is clean because God has made them clean. It is when we neglect our conscience that we shipwreck our faith, 1 Timothy 1:19. If you would be the 99 who don’t need to repent, then at all times take care of your conscience. Repent continually.
It’s hard work for the church to care enough to go out and reach that 1 that needs to repent. It takes courage and love to reach them. But who is going to reach the 1 who needs to repent? The 99. The 99 are the most humble, repentant people in the world. They are not exalting themselves above sinners. They already know their sinfulness and their need for God’s grace. They are bowing in prayer, bowing on their knees, in reverence before God. And when they see a lost soul, they see themselves and have pity and mercy for the soul that’s in danger.
So if you are the 99 who doesn’t need to repent, because you are always repenting, with a good conscience go and find that 1.

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5 replies

  1. This is absolutely wrong. Look at the audience when Jesus speaks the Luke 15 parables! The 99 are the Pharisees, the teachers of the law — the very ones to whom He is speaking! In their minds, they don’t believe that they need repentance, when in fact they do — for we ALL need it.


    • Well, thank you for the comment. And I understand the Lord uses “the righteous” to refer to the “self-righteous” who are lost and do need to repent. E.G., “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Lk 5:32. However, Jesus also says these 99 righteous have no need to repent. He does not say they “feel no need to repent.” In the end, neither your view nor mine does harm to the scriptures.


      • I like your treatment of the 99. Clearly, these are the truly righteous as they are rejoicing when sinner is found. With Lost Sons ending the way it does (older bro not rejoicing over the younger’s return, just as the pharisees aren’t rejoicing over tax collectors coming to JC) it’s clear that lost sheep and coin are the model of what should happen but lost sons is what the pharisees are doing, showing themselves not to be in the 99 who rejoice.
        However… I disagree with your application. The call from this passage is not for the 99 to find the 1 (i.e. they are not to be the man who lost sheep or the woman who lost coin). The call is for the 99 to rejoice over the 1 being found. One can see this in first 2 parables wherein the finder (who is God) calls his/her friends to rejoice with him/her. Whilst it is a truth that the Church must preach to and love the lost, JC’s point here is that He seeks and saves the lost (see Lk 19:10) and those who are really righteous will rejoice when He does that! So I reckon a better application would be: Christian, are you rejoicing when the lost are found (even if they seem so unholy). Don’t be like the Pharisees who thought their deeds made them more righteous in God’s eyes than the ‘sinners’.

        Having said this, I enjoyed your short post a lot and appreciate your clear approach to the text.
        In Christ…

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s an awesome point you are making. I missed it and thank you for pointing that out.


    • True; i don’t think the context can easily support this interpretation


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