Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.
I would employ this subject in order —
I. TO REMIND CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS OF CERTAIN DUTIES WHICH THEY OWE. We learn, then, from the words before us, that the repentance of sinners is, to these holy beings, an occasion of rejoicing; and this may be supposed to arise, in the first place, from the reverence and love which they indulge for the character and authority of God. In a kingdom where the sovereign, ruling in equity and in mercy, dwells generally in the affections of his loyal subjects, when rebellion and treason lay down their arms and sue for mercy, the circumstance is surely hailed by every loyal subject as a matter of sincere rejoicing.
2. The joy indulged by angels over the repentance of a sinner, may be considered as arising, secondly, from that spirit of benevolence, that love to human nature, which forms, of course, one principal feature in their character, as it is an attribute of that God, whom, in this respect as well as in others, they must be considered to resemble. They, therefore, rejoice over the repentance of a sinner, because it is the beginning of his own salvation, and also, because it is the beginning of blessedness which is likely to extend, in a greater or less degree, to all around him.
3. The joy indulged by angels over the repentance of a sinner may be considered as arising, thirdly, from the interest they take in the spread of the Redeemer's kingdom.
4. Another reason, probably, which has sometimes been referred to, why angels rejoice over the repentance of a sinner is, that they may have been instrumental, though in a way unknown to us, in bringing that sinner to repentance. For it has been said, there is nothing extravagant in supposing that He who so frequently employs, in the salvation of the souls of men, the instrumentality of human agents, should sometimes employ, though in a way unknown by us, the instrumentality of angels; and if so, we find in this circumstance another reason why angels indulge the joy referred to in the text, over the repentance of a sinner.
II. That while these words supply admonition and instruction to Christian believers, they ARE ALSO DESIGNED AND FITTED TO SUPPLY ENCOURAGEMENT TO PENITENTS.
III. BY WAY OF ADMONITION AND REPROOF, TO ADDRESS A WORD OR TWO TO THE IMPENITENT AND UNCONVERTED. First of all observe what a contrast there is between the joy that angels express on the repentance of a sinner and your unconcern about your own repentance. Once more I would observe, still addressing myself to persons of the same description, if, according to the declaration of my text, there be "joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth," then may we not suppose that, if there be such a thing as joy in hell, there is joy there over every one that goeth on in his iniquity?
Parallel VersesKJV: Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.