This last Sunday we sang this hymn in response to God's absolution and declaration of pardon (# 473 in the new Trinity Hymnal). This was a new hymn for our congregation but it will probably become a favorite. The hymn is introduced with these words from Luke 15:2, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
Jesus sinners doth receive: word of surest consolation;
Word all sorrow to relieve, word of pardon, peace, salvation!
Naught like this can comfort give: "Jesus sinners doth receive."
On God's grace we have no claim, yet to us his pledge is given;
he hath sworn by his own name, open are the gates of heaven.
take to heart this word and live: "Jesus sinners doth receive."
When a helpless lamb doth stray, after it, the Shepherd, pressing
through each dark and dangerous way, brings it back, his own possessing.
Jesus seeks thee, O believe: "Jesus sinners doth receive."
Oh, how blest it is to know: were as scarlet my transgression,
it shall be as white as snow by thy blood and bitter passion;
for these word I now believe: "Jesus sinners doth receive."
Now my conscience is at peace, from the Law I stand acquitted;
Christ hath purchased my release and my every sin remitted.
Naught remains my soul to grieve -- "Jesus sinners doth receive."
The third stanza was particularly meaningful to me because one who had gone astray was brought back by the chief Shepherd (I Peter 5:4).