Turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die?
There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Phillips, Craig, and Dean song His Favorite Song of All is a beautiful expression of God’s delight and joy in heaven when one righteous person repents and believes the Gospel. Although praise of people for the majesty of creation, or the glory of God’s divine nature is pleasing to God, there is a greater joy when a sinner repents and calls on the name of Jesus for salvation.
There are plenty of sinners out there who need to repent. Some are obviously far from God – down and out and wayward in every way. Others appear less sinful, more respectable, and not obviously in need of God’s grace or forgiveness. But anyone who lives apart from God, without acknowledging his proper place, or thanking him for his gifts are on the road to perdition (cf. Romans 1:21-23).
Then there are those of us who would do well to acknowledge our continuing need for God’s grace inspire of our faith in him, and acknowledgement of his glory and gifts. We who are in the church too easily can fall prey to the most subtle of self-righteous superiority. We can forget that we never outgrow the need for God’s mercy and grace. Thankfully, however, God’s grace is never exhausted. It may be ignored. It may be abandoned. But it is never exhausted.
When we acknowledge our own sin, repent and believe the Good News of Jesus’ salvation and gift of abundant eternal life, there is joy in heaven. Those who are truly God’s people lay claim to his grace and rejoice in God’s joy in receiving sinners, and saving lives.