Bible Truth Examiner


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Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”

Philippians 4: 4

Joy is one of the most important graces of Christian character. The numerous Scriptures and examples prove the great stress that the Bible lays on this grace, such as: (Psalm 5: 11), (Psalm 16: 8-11), (Psalm 63: 5-7), (Isaiah 51: 11) and (Luke 2: 10). Joy may be defined as gladness, exultation and happiness of heart and mind. Joy consists of a number of Christian graces as its elements, such as faith, hope, love, obedience and peace, to name a few.

Three Kinds of Joy

(1.) Sinful joy, the joys that the sinner experiences by indulging his depraved tastes. Although this joy may give some pleasure, it is merely temporary. In a moral order of affairs, those who delight in disobedience, murder, adultery, theft, slander, covetousness, etc., are made miserable after indulgence in these evils.

(2.) Selfish and worldly joy, the joys that are experienced by indulging in one’s natural selfish and worldly tendencies along the lines of self-esteem, the esteem of others, physical comfort, life, food, sex, family, home, friends, country, etc. While such joys may, and often are indulged in apart from sin, at best they are transitory, not wholly satisfying and often disappointing.

(3.) Spiritual joy, which God calls “the joy of the LORD” (Nehemiah 8: 10-12). They center in God, Jesus, our Christian brethren, God’s Plan of salvation, etc. These joys are not temporary, unsatisfactory and disappointing; rather, they are eternal, satisfying and triumphant.

Four Stages of Joy

The four stages of joy correspond to the four stages of the Christian life – the higher the stage, the greater is the degree of joy experienced.

(1.) In justification one’s joys root in the assurance that God has forgiven him his sins, that Christ has imputed His righteousness to him, that God fellowships with, and befriends him, and that He grants him growth in living a righteous life.

(2.) In sanctification one’s joys root in the fact that he is privileged to be dead to self and the world and alive to God, that he is privileged to lay down his life on behalf of the advancement of God’s Plan now and in the hereafter, and that in spirit he is enabled to cultivate, strengthen, balance and perfect the various graces of Christian character.

(3.) In deliverance the Christian’s joys lodge in the assurance and the fact that Christ leads him to victory in his warfare against his enemies – sin, error, selfishness and worldliness – as they are led by the devil, the world and the flesh. This includes his individual battles and the warfare as a whole, as well as will lead him to victory over death and the grave.

(4.) In enlightenment the Christian’s joys have their foundation in the Truth of God’s Word, made clear to him in its seven parts – its doctrines, precepts, promises, exhortations, prophecies, histories and types. His joys increase in each advancing stage of the Christian life, as his knowledge and understanding of God’s Word enlarge.

Joy’s Reasonableness

It is reasonable that the Christian experiences joy in both the toward and untoward circumstances of life. How reasonable it is that he should rejoice that he has been privileged to enter and remain in the Christian life; to rejoice in God as his Father; to rejoice in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior; to rejoice in his own privileges of learning, spreading and practicing the Truth of God’s Word and the faithful endurance of the incidental experiences; and to rejoice in the assurance that all things work together for good to them that love God (Romans 8: 28) (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18)!

How reasonable it is for him to rejoice that God’s provision for the world is restitution to the original Divine image and likeness to whoever wills in the Millennium; to rejoice that eventually all evil and all irreformably evil persons will be forever blotted out, and that eventually only good and the good will forever remain, and that in eternal bliss; and finally, to rejoice at the prospect that every created thing in heaven and earth, even such as had been in the death state and in rebellion against God, will unite in the grand Hallelujah Chorus, ascribing “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever (Revelation 5: 13)!