It was Phillip Yancey in his book What’s so Amazing about Grace, who first showed me the “new math” that God uses. He writes:
“I grew up with the image of a mathematical God who weighed my good and bad deeds on a set of scales and always found me wanting. Somehow I missed the God of the Gospels, a God of mercy and generosity who keeps finding ways to shatter the relentless laws of ungrace. God tears up the mathematical tables and introduces the new math of grace….
…. Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more—no amount of spiritual calisthenics and renunciations, no amount of knowledge gained from seminaries and divinity school, no amount of crusading on behalf of righteous causes. And grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us less—no amount of racism or pride or pornography or adultery or even murder. Grace means God already loves us as much as an infinite God can possibly love.” ~Philip Yancey in What’s so Amazing about Grace, p. 70.
A few pages later Yancey observes…
“At the center of Jesus’ parables of grace stands a God who takes the initiative toward us: a lovesick father who runs to meet the prodigal, a landlord who cancels a debt too large for any servant to reimburse, an employer who pays eleventh-hour workers the same as the first-hour crew, a banquet-giver who goes out to the highways and byways in search of undeserving guests.” Philip Yancey in What’s so Amazing about Grace, p. 91.
That’s not good business, but that’s what is happening in our text. Leaving behind 99 sheep to go find one is not the old math of the law. It’s generally not considered a good idea. But it is the idea that Jesus uses to show us how God loves us. It’s the new math of grace. It’s the way God loves you. He loves you with a reckless love.
This podcast speaks of his great grace.