In our previous studies about Spiritual Basics, we’ve been looking at the importance of Knowing Christ. Our Bible verses for study have been:
- John 3:16-17
- Acts 16:30-31
- Romans 3:21-26
- 1 Corinthians 3:11
- Ephesians 2:1-10
Knowing Christ is the beginning point for every human being who wants to know God. As Jesus prayed in the presence of His disciples:
“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Luke 10:21-22
We move now to the second area of Spiritual Basics – Enjoying Christ.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
“… for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Being a Christian is the greatest experience of life because Christians have a true and lasting relationship to the Creator of Life. As we saw in an earlier study about Knowing Christ, we are “justified” before God. We have “peace” with God and “rejoice in hope” of the glory of God.
Joy was one of the first emotions I experienced as a new Christian and that joy grew as I learned more about my new position in Christ (justified by faith). The Greek word translated “joy” is χαρά. It comes from the word χαίρω, which means “I rejoice, am glad.” It is similar to the word for “grace,” χάρις.
The angel who spoke to the shepherds near Bethlehem about the birth of Jesus Christ said: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ is great news that brings with it great joy.
Jesus taught His disciples about an important connection between joy and obedience – “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. ‘These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:10-12)
Paul wrote that God’s Kingdom is a combination of righteousness, peace and “joy” in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). He also wrote that joy is a “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22).
The Greek word for “rejoice” is καυχάομαι and means “holding head up high, to boast, to glory proudly.” It comes from the root word for “neck” (auχēn), which holds a person’s head upright.
Paul wrote that Christians rejoice in “hope” of the glory of God. The Greek word is ἐλπίς and means “confident expectation, trust.” We have joy in and rejoice in the confident expectation of our eternal salvation because of God’s grace and Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross and resurrection from the dead.
The “joy” of salvation is not just for those of us on earth. In teaching the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Jesus said, “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” There is joy in Heaven as well when a sinner repents.
Christians also experience a similar joy even as Paul wrote the Thessalonians: “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20). Paul wrote the Philippians that he prayed for them joyfully – “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5).
James wrote persecuted believers – “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2-3).
Peter wrote persecuted believers – “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9) and “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
John wrote believers – “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:1-4).
Jude wrote believers – “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25)
The heritage of every Christian is joy, exceeding joy. Enjoying Christ is a spiritual basic.
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
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