Many of us know the testimony of Paul on the road to Damascus! Who conducted his life separate of Gods righteousness before the grace of God overshadowed him. We too are as Paul in many ways, but God is ever searching for those who will repent and serve Him! If we are honest we would understand that before we repented we too thought God approved of our ways (1 Timothy 1:12-15) And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (Psalm 53:2)
In the parable of the lost sheep Jesus taught the importance of how heaven rejoices over one sinner that repents. The number one may seem insignificant to some, but to God it brings Him great joy when one returns to Him! (Luke 15:47) And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
In the story of the rich man and Lazarus we sadly see the concern of the rich man asking Abraham to send Lazarus to his five brethren so that they may know to repent and not be sent to the torment of hell! We read of the hardened heart’s of man as Abraham says that even if one rose from the dead it would not persuade one to repent of their sin (Luke 16:27-31) Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.(2 Peter 3:9).