The Importance, Joy, and Reward of Repentance

The Importance, Joy, and Reward of Repentance

What the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, was asking of Pharaoh was so very simple: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” Period. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” Of all the things that God could ask of a person, this seems like such an easy request to comply with. Yet as we’ve seen, Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. He refused to comply. He chose judgment over obedience, affliction over deliverance. Therefore, thus far he had been subject to:

The Nile River turning into blood;[1]

A plague of frogs;[2]

A plague of gnats;[3]

A swarm of flies;[4]

The death of livestock;[5]

And festering boils.[6]

All of these plagues occurred due to Pharaoh’s disobedience. Again, each of these miraculous judgments could have been avoided had Pharaoh but agreed to allow the people of the LORD go and worship their God, the God of the Hebrews. But Pharaoh refused. His heart remained hard. So we arrive at the seventh plague.

As in the past, the LORD again spoke to Moses and said to him, beginning with verse 13, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, 14 or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth.’” God’s patience is in full display as he who made Pharaoh and all that exists continued to communicate with him:

By referring to himself as “the LORD, the God of the Hebrews,”[7] he again distinguished himself from the Egyptian gods;

he again demanded of Pharaoh that he let the people of the LORD go that they might worship him;

he again let Pharoah know what the price of disobedience would be—this time it would be “the full force” of his plagues against not only Pharaoh but also his officials and people.

Though Pharaoh may have been king over the mighty nation of Egypt—even more, as one commentator notes, “although [he] considered himself to be a representative of divine power” [8]—the LORD wanted him to know, to make clear to him, that “there is no one like me in all the earth” (emphasis added). Again, none other than God who made the earth and heavens and everything that dwells therein was addressing and making himself known to Pharaoh.

Yahweh, the LORD, further had Moses disclose to Pharaoh, verse 15, “For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.” Pharaoh may have thought himself resilient but resiliency wasn’t the reason he was still alive. No, Pharaoh and his people continued to live because God allowed them to. Had he desired, he could have wiped out the king, his officials, and people from the face of the earth. But he didn’t. God had other plans. As stated in verse 16, the LORD wanted Pharaoh to know, “But I have raised you up”—or “spared you”—“for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Pharaoh was spared in order that God’s power might be shown and his name proclaimed, once again, in all the earth for, as already noted in verse 14, “there is no one like” God in all the earth. And with this we begin to appreciate an evangelistic purpose that can be found in these many plagues. Although on the one hand, as we noted last week, they were sent as judgment for Pharaoh’s disobedience in not letting God’s people go worship him; on the other hand, the plagues were sent in order that Pharaoh and the Egyptians might come to know God as their Maker and LORD.[9]

However, knowing Pharaoh’s heart, God knew that Pharaoh wouldn’t obey. Thus he had Moses also tell him, beginning with verse 17, “17 You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18 Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now.” Notice, yet again, the specificity of the judgment—the worst hailstorm Egypt had ever experienced—as well as the specificity of its timing—“at this time tomorrow.” None of these miraculous plagues occurred coincidentally. All of them, without exception, were sent by the LORD.

Now it’s worth noting that even though the LORD knew that Pharaoh wouldn’t let God’s people go worship him, in his mercy he nonetheless let Pharaoh know how he and his people might be spared this particular plague. As one commentator states, “God’s judgments are tempered by mercy. He withholds total destruction so that the Egyptians might know His power and repent (v. 15)…. [his] judgments against Pharaoh will cause God’s name to be proclaimed to the nations.”[10] Thus we read in verse 19 how God instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every person and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.” This instruction gives credence to those scholars who suggested that the fourth plague, the death of the livestock, had been limited to livestock that had been left outdoors and that perhaps, there too, the timing of the plague—“tomorrow”[11]—was to allow God-fearing Egyptians time to bring them inside. What is more, as noted by another scholar, “Even in judgment [God] allows for the protection of both human beings and animals.”[12] Therefore we read in verses 20–21, “20 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. 21 But those who ignored the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the field.” Clearly there were some Egyptian leaders, some officials serving under Pharaoh, who were coming to believe “that there is no one like me in all the earth” (verse 14); clearly there were some who understood that they had been raised up or spared “that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (verse 16).

As occurred with previous plagues, God did just as he said for the next day, as stated in verse 22, “…the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that hail will fall all over Egypt—on people and animals and on everything growing in the fields of Egypt.’” Verses 23–25 then describe the force of this plague:

23 When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt; 24 hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. 25 Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree.

But notice that one part of Egypt was again spared. As stated in verse 26, “The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.” As the Israelites had previously been spared from undergoing the plague of flies[13] and the plague that killed the livestock,[14] so they were spared this relentless hail that “struck everything in the fields—both people and animals” and that “beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree” (verse 25). This would be like hail crashing down all across Massachusetts with only those living in Ipswich being spared. Everywhere else there would be death and destruction but in Ipswich not a blade of grass would be hurt.

Well, for the first time, it appears as though Pharaoh realized not only what had taken place but also why. As stated in verse 27, “Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. ‘This time I have sinned,’ he said to them. ‘The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.’” Wow! What a great outcome this was! Although Pharaoh was incorrect in acknowledging that he had sinned against the LORD; that he had disbelieved and disobeyed the LORD only “this time”—the fact of the matter is that he had sinned all of the previous times as well—nonetheless, his admitting his sin to Moses and Aaron and confessing that he was in the wrong and that the LORD was in the right certainly seems like progress. For repentance begins with admitting when our way departs from God’s way and acknowledging that his way is always right. So Pharaoh’s acknowledgment certainly seems worth celebrating—at least at first blush. Having admitted that he was in the wrong, Pharaoh went on to ask of Moses and Aaron, verse 28, “Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.”

Moses did as Pharaoh asked but he also knew better than to take Pharaoh’s words at face value or assume that his repentance was genuine. As stated in verses 29–30, Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” Despite knowing that Pharaoh wasn’t sincere, Moses nonetheless would pray that the LORD’s hand would be stayed so that the thunder and hail would cease. The purpose in God’s actions, again, was revelatory and evangelistic, “so you may know that the earth is the LORD’s.” Once again, God’s control over the time of the arrival and departure of this plague bore witness to the fact that he who made the heavens and earth has control over every aspect of his creation. But, again, Moses knew that as was true with the first six plagues, so it would be with this seventh plague: In the end, Pharaoh’s heart would remain hard; his eyes would remain closed to everything that the LORD was displaying to him.

A parenthetical note explains why the wheat and spelt were not destroyed—“because they ripen later”—unlike the barley and flax that “had headed” and “was in bloom,” respectively in verses 31–32. According to scholars, these details place this plague in January and February for “Flax was in the bud in January, and barley was in the ear at that time; it would have been harvested in February.”[15]

Next, verse 33 states, “Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the Lord; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land.” Again, by God’s power the thunder and hail had begun; by his power the thunder and hail ceased. But, regrettably, as stated in verses 34–35, “34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.” Like the person who swears to God that they’ll do better if only God will deliver them from dire straits but this once and, once delivered, immediately forgets their vow or explains away the deliverance as a coincidence, so, too, did Pharaoh. As the hail rained down he acknowledged his sin of unbelief but the second the hail ceased, he reneged on his promise to allow God’s people go and worship him. His heart and the hearts of his officials remained hard. Just as the LORD had said.

Pharaoh’s case may lead us to consider why, given that repentance, acknowledging and turning away from our sin is so important, then why is it so difficult for us to embrace?

Given that repentance, acknowledging and turning away from our sin, is the source of joy, why do we choose sorrow instead?

Given that repentance, acknowledging and turning away from our sin, is always rewarded by God, why do we choose his judgment instead?

Concerning Pharaoh, present-day psychologists might say that his repentance is so difficult because, as the oft-quoted saying goes, “All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”[16] Recently Ron drew my attention to an article written by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang entitled, When I Ran for President, It Messed with My Head.[17] In it, he begins by asking the reader to imagine a birthday party given in your honor during which everyone is praising and congratulating you, wanting to be near and touch you. Then Yang asks, “Now imagine if that happened to you every night. Not just every night but several times during the day as well.” We take his point. What if everyone we encountered was ever praising us? He also notes historian Henry Adams’ description of power as “a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies.” Yang then adds,

This may sound like hyperbole, but it has been borne out by years of lab and field experiments. Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, has been studying the influence of power on individuals…. He has consistently found that power, over time, makes one more impulsive, more reckless and less able to see things from others’ points of view. It also leads one to be rude, more likely to cheat on one’s spouse, less attentive to other people, and less interested in the experiences of others…. It turns out that power actually gives you brain damage.[18]

This description sure is in keeping with Pharaoh’s behavior, isn’t it? Perhaps this physiological change in the brains of people who hold great power is part of the reason that Pharaoh had such a difficult time believing that anyone—not even the LORD and Maker of the universe—could be more powerful than he and be worthy of his obedience.

Similarly, in turning to our New Testament passage from Luke 5, we see Jesus, too, acknowledge the difficulty that people in power in his day had in accepting the fact that they, too, were sinners in need of repentance. The passage records the wonderful day that Jesus called Levi (also known as Matthew[19]), a tax collector, to be one of his chosen twelve disciples. [20] As stated in verses 27–28, “27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.” It’s important to note that at this time tax collectors were viewed as being sinners. Tax collector, sinner; potato, po-tah-tuh—it’s all the same. As noted by one commentator, tax collectors “were especially detested for…frequently defrauding their own people.”[21] Yet Levi, a despised tax collector, when called by Jesus, “left everything” behind—his sin, his possessions, his livelihood—“and followed him.” Levi’s deeds, his forsaking everything for the privilege and joy of following Jesus, displayed the condition of his heart just as God requires.[22]

But not only did he leave everything and follow Jesus but, verse 29, “Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.” As one scholar observes, “When Levi began to follow Jesus, he did not do it secretly”![23] No, Levi threw a feast and invited his friends who would include, quite naturally, “a large crowd of tax collectors.” Yet Christ Jesus, who was sent to earth by our heavenly Father in order to save sinners, was right at home among this large gathering of sinners; he ever delighted to be in the company of the precious sinners whom he came to save.

Not so much the religious leaders who were in power. As stated in verse 30, “But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’” These Pharisees and law teachers who, as one scholar notes, would have been outside since they “regarded table fellowship with sinners as especially defiling,”[24] seemed to be under the impression that genuinely upright and holy people would never be seen in the company of sinners. Therefore, to their way of thinking, if Jesus was, indeed, the promised Messiah concerning whom their Scriptures prophesied and taught, what was he doing eating and drinking—breaking bread and having fellowship—with such people???

By way of reply, Jesus simply stated, verses 31–32, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Ahhh, right. Unlike Levi, “the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect” didn’t see themselves as sinners. These powerful men considered themselves to be righteous by their words and deeds. As such, they didn’t understand themselves to be sick. As such, they didn’t see their need for Jesus, the Great Physician and Savior of the world.

However, in considering these accounts of Pharaoh, the secular king in power in Moses’ day, and the Pharisees and teachers of the law, the religious people in power in Jesus’ day, we should remember that the challenge of repentance isn’t confined to those in power. For at some level all of us have a tendency to believe that what we think and desire is more important and right than what God thinks and desires. Repentance, confessing those thoughts and actions that go contrary to God’s teaching, turning from such thoughts and actions, and seeking forgiveness from Christ for them, is required of all of God’s image-bearers.

Indeed, as already noted, repentance is why Christ was sent to earth. As our Lord Jesus himself, after rising from death, explained concerning himself to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.”[25] Christ’s suffering, dying, rising from death and thereby procuring forgiveness of sins for all who turn to him is the Good News God in Christ came to proclaim! As the apostle Peter also taught, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”[26] Jesus knew that apart from him, people will perish in and because of their sins. Therefore, he came to offer sinners his eternal life and righteousness in place of their sins and eternal death.[27] Recall how Jesus, in teaching the parable of the lost sheep—once again to Pharisees and law teachers upset about his welcoming and eating with tax collectors and sinners—declared that as the owner of the lost sheep rejoices upon finding it and calls his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him (even as Levi did!), noted that “in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”[28] Repentance brings joy not only to the one who repents and their friends but to all of heaven!

This is why the apostle Paul, after declaring to his fellow Israelites that “God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer”[29] and then raising Jesus from the dead—to which he, Paul, was witness[30]—said to them, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”[31] Did you catch that? Those who repent and turn to God will have their sins “wiped out” and receive “times of refreshing…from the Lord”! Indeed, repentance leads to eternal life and is granted to all who believe in Jesus and receive him as their Savior and Lord and are thereby given his Holy Spirit.[32] As Paul teaches elsewhere, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”[33] How true is Paul’s teaching that “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.”[34]

Dear sisters and brothers, repentance—confessing and turning away from those thoughts and behaviors that go against God’s teaching because they’re harmful to us and others—is the heart of the Good News our Lord Jesus was sent to proclaim:

Repentance is important because we are all born sinners in need of God’s forgiveness and of one another’s.[35] It is how we come to our senses and escape the trap of the devil.[36] Repentance is so important that Christ suffered, died, and rose from death to grant it. Apart from his forgiveness, we will perish; with his forgiveness, we eternally live;

Repentance is a joy because it’s the means that his Holy Spirit uses to restore a right relationship between him, us, and others. By repentance our sins are forgiven, they’re wiped out, they’re taken away. As the hymn declares,[37] our sins—not in part, but the whole—are nailed to the cross and we bear them no more, Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, oh my soul! By repentance our souls are indeed refreshed by God!

The reward of repentance is that by it we can become and remain the new creatures in Christ he has called us to be.[38] Repentance opens our eyes to God’s goodness and kindness. Repentance leads us to rejoice in the goodness and kindness of our gracious Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; it leads us to throw a great banquet and invite others to join in as all heaven, too, rejoices.

So let us this morning and always remember the importance, joy, and reward of repentance knowing that God has given us his Word—and his Son—and his Holy Spirit—and one another—in order that we might be holy as he is holy;[39] and experience life as he intended it; in order that his will might be done on earth as it is in heaven.

And let us share the Good News of repentance that as the LORD said to Pharaoh, others might know that there is no one like him in all the earth; that his power and name might be proclaimed in all the earth;

And let us ever pray that we and those we love will remember that Jesus came to heal the sickness of our sin; he came that we might repent and turn to him, the Great Physician, who is LORD and Giver of eternal life.

Let us pray.

Benediction: Jude 24–25 24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

[1] Exodus 7:14–24.

[2] Exodus 8:1–15.

[3] Exodus 8:16–19.

[4] Exodus 8:20–32.

[5] Exodus 9:1–7.

[6] Exodus 9:8–12.

[7] See also Exodus 3:18: “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’” Exodus 7:16: Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened.; Exodus 9:1: “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.”’”

[8] Crossway ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 9:14–16.

[9] In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul mentions this verse as a way of illustrating God’s sovereign will. See Romans 9:16–18 (see verse 17): 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”  18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

[10] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 9:15, 16.

[11] Exodus 9:5–6:The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died.

[12] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Exodus 9:19. The note also cross-references Jonah 4:10–11: 10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

[13] Exodus 8:22–23: 22 But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. 23 I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.

[14] Exodus 9:4: But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.

[15] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 9:31, 32: “This information [in these two verses] seems to set the time in January-February…. Flax was in the bud in January, and barley was in the ear at that time; it would have been harvested in February.” So, too, the Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Exodus 9:18, this plague would have taken place “in January or February when the flax and barley were in flower but the wheat and spelt had not yet germinated.”

[16] Popularized by the 19th century British politician Lord Acton.


[18] Yang further supports this perspective by noting how “This even shows up in brain scans. Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University in Ontario, recently examined the brain patterns of the powerful and the not so powerful in a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine. He found that those with power are impaired in a specific neural process — mirroring — that leads to empathy.”

[19] Luke and Mark refer to him as “Levi”; Matthew eponymous refers to himself as “Matthew.” See, respectively, Mark 2:15a: While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house,…. Matthew 9:9a: As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth.

[20] Also recorded in Matthew and Mark’s Gospels. See Matthew 9:9–13: 9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”’ Mark 2:15–17: 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

[21] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Luke 3:12. The Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Luke 3:12 further elaborates: “Roman taxes were collected by agents who bid for the rights to collect taxes in a city. They would pay the Romans what they bid and collect more for their own salaries. There was a strong temptation for them to enrich themselves by collecting much more than what was reasonable. Jewish tax collectors were despised as collaborators with the occupying Roman forces. They were excluded from the religious life of the synagogue and the temple.”

[22] See John 3:7–14: 7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”; Acts 26:19–20: 19 “So then, King Agrippa, I [Paul] was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.

[23] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Luke 5:29. (exclamation added)

[24] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Luke 5:30.

[25] Luke 22:46–48.

[26] 2 Peter 3:9. Emphases added.

[27] Romans 3:22–24: 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

[28] Luke 15:7. The account is found in Luke 15:1–7: 1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

[29] Acts 3:18: But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer.

[30] Acts 3:15: You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.

[31] Acts 3:19.

[32] See Acts 11:15–18: 15 “As I [Peter] began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them [Cornelius, a Gentile, and his household] as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with[Or in] water, but you will be baptized with[Or in] the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

[33] 2 Corinthians 7:10.

[34] Romans 2:4.

[35] Luke 17:3b–4: “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

[36] See 2 Tim 2:22–26 (verse 26): 22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

[37] Third stanza of It Is Well With My Soul.

[38] Ephesians 4:22–24: 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.; Colossians 3:9–10: Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

[39] Leviticus 11:44–45: 44 I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45 I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.; 1 Peter 1:15–16: 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”