Jesus told his vivid stories of the coin, the sheep, and the son.
The common factor was that they were all lost, and that sin is not so much badness as “awayness”. To be lost is to be away – away from the purse, from the sheepfold, and from the Father’s house.
Jesus was teaching the self-righteous Pharisees who condemned him for associating with “sinners” that, though they went to the synagogue every day, in their hearts they were just as much lost and away from God as were the irreligious publicans.
Yet the last word is not lost, but found. Though man is away from God he can be brought back; though he is dead in sins, he can be made alive; though he is lost he can be found; and though he is perishing he can be saved.
In God’s sight, man in spite of his sin is still of more value than the whole of nature (Matt, 10:31) and to find lost man is worth any pain, any search, and any sacrifice on His part.