“I am sought of them that asked not for me ; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.” Isaiah 65:1.
“It was taught by the Jews that before God’s love is extended to the sinner, he must first repent. In their view, repentance is a work by which men earn the favour of Heaven. And it was this thought that led the Pharisees to exclaim in astonishment and anger, “This man received sinners.” According to their ideas He should permit none to approach Him but those who had repented. But in the parable of the lost sheep, Christ teaches that salvation does not come through our seeking after God but through God’s seeking after us. “There is none that understand, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way.” Romans 3:11, 12. We do not repent in order that God may love us, but He reveals to us His love in order that we may repent. …
When one who has wandered far in sin seeks to return to God, he will encounter criticism and distrust. … Let the repenting sinner contemplate the rejoicing in heaven over the return of the one that was lost. Let him rest in the love of God and in no case be disheartened by the scorn and suspicion of the Pharisees.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 189, 190.
Questions to think about:
What did the Jews teach in regard to the meaning of repentance?
Who is seeking our salvation? Is it us or is it Christ?
Can we trust and contemplate the rejoicing in heaven for our salvation and for the salvation of others?