T H E K I N O ' S B U S I N E S S
ever true that there is Joy in heaven (v. 7) over the restored property, the sheep, and “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that re- penteth” (v. 10 ). Points and Problems 1. “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners” (Lk. 15:1). A better translation of the verb would be “ were drawing near” '(R . V .); that is, there was a great movement of these classes toward the Lord, and this move ment was continuously going on. The impetus of this movement may be found in the preceding chapter where His dis course in the house of the Pharisee gave specific encouragement to people of these groups. 2. “ Sinners” (v. 1). To the careless reader, this expression might seem to suggest that some people are sinners and others are not. We should understand, therefore, that this term is used in sev eral different senses in the Bible. First, in the universal and absolute sense, all men are "sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). Second, in the technical sense of Jewish law, those Jews who lived in disregard of the ceremonial requirements w e r e called “sinners” (Matt. 9:10, 11; cf. Mk. 7:1-3). Third,-men guilty of certain def inite crimes or vices, such as publicans,
that they need no repentance into sal vation? Certainly not. Such a notion would éontradict the fundamental teach- ' ing of the Word that "all hâve sinned” and must be saved by the grace of God. Our Lord’s words must mean, there fore, that He is not talking about the world in general, but rather about His , own people, in the three parables of Luke 15. The hundred sheep, the ten pieces of silver, and the two sons, are intended as pictures of the Lord’s peo ple. Unsaved people dre neither “sheep” of the Lord, nor “ sons” of the Father. Students of the Word should under stand that in the Bible there are two distinct kinds of “repentance” taught. First, there is a “repentance” which is required of all men in order to be saved and born of God (Acts 17:30). Second, there is a “repentance” which is re quired only of those children of God who w a n d e r away from the Father (Job 42:6). Now it is perfectly clear that Christ was referring to the second in the parable of Luke 15:7 because He def initely states that the "ninety and nine” needed no repentance, and this would not be'true if He were speaking of the repentance that brings salvation, for all men need this. If we keep these dis tinctions in mind, we shall avoid con fusion and have a much clearer under standing of the truths taught in all of these parables.
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were called "sinners” (Lk. 19:7). Fourth, all pagan Gentiles were called “sinners” (Gal. 2:15). Fifth, men guilty of great and flagrant sins were called “sinners” (1 Tim. 1:9). Sixth, a, woman of ill fame Was calle^ a “sinner” by the Jews (Lk. 7:37). In this week’s lesson the refer ence should be understood in the second sense as explained above. 3. “My sheep which was lost” (v. 6 ). People sometimes ask whether, on the basis of this passage, a ’ "sheep” of God may not be lost.’ Well, if the passage teaches that, let us not forget that the ■ s ame passage teaches that a “lost” sheep is still a "sheep.”- And further more, our Lord plainly declares that it is “my sheep.” 4. “Just persons, which need no re- pentence” (v. 7). Are there some peo ple in the world so perfectly righteous
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