The Lord God has complete knowledge of His people. He knows their thoughts and their intentions for Him. Because of this nature which He holds in Himself with power, He guides them into His will. He satisfies them with His judgments and justifies them before the world. So, a man of God said, “What more can David still say to You concerning the honor bestowed on Your servant? For You know Your servant” (1 Chron. 17:18). There is no greater joy for God’s people than to know that He knows them thoroughly. For in it there is every blessing of God that suits their life.
It is our relationship with God that defines joy. The world in its sin nature can never attain to nor know it. The joy they acquire from their works does not fasten upon them; like vapor it quickly vanishes. For once they acquire it they no longer are enthused by it. Their flesh that continually overcomes their spirit never gives them the strength to remain in their joy. In contrast, the joy from the Lord dwells in us to strengthen us. It is established by the blessings of God; it lifts us up. It comes from the judgments He makes for us. His judgments are hidden in His word. Therefore, as much as His word cannot vanish, our joy remains.
The men and women that receive God’s blessings have honor. The world around them cannot allow themselves to ignore it. God has counted them worthy for it. There is no power that can decimate it; even the power of Satan will be found wanting against it. They will be tried, tempted and suffered by the Adversary, but as they hold on to the joy God bestowed upon them, they prevail. With reference to these it is safe to say that people blessed by God will not have relapse. David was one among such people. He had an honorable thought to build a house for the Lord God and revealed it to His prophet. At first, Nathan, the prophet, consented to his intention. But, we know the subsequent events that took place by the word of the Lord. Though God did not permit David to build Him a house, He filled him with joy greater than his intention. He stood in awe of His judgments that could not be decimated.
Not only would David’s thought take shape, but it would happen through his son. God has extended his throne! His kingdom under the watchful eye of God would have everlasting peace besides many things. Now, this did not happen by coincidence or lack of an alternative, but by David’s faith in God that credited him righteousness. Righteousness always follows with joy that has blessings. So, it is written, “It is good to give thanks to the LORD and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High” (Ps. 92:1). How wonderful it is that one thing of God leads to another! It is common sense that with joy there are blessings; and with blessings praise is becoming. And, what profit is there with a joy that vanishes like vapor? It is useless to the one who had it and to God.
What ascertains Christians is the joy they receive from the Lord. The joy that God has discovered them must first be rooted in them. Without it, it is impossible for them to receive His blessings. It is the satisfaction through which they exercise the Lord’s will to possess eternal life. His will for them is to praise Him. Through praise they glorify His name; and by glorifying Him extend their joy. This is the cycle God availed to them. Truly, a person found by God cannot fail to own it. This confidence has been established by God Himself. “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, In lovingkindness and in compassion” (Hos. 2:19).
This is the advent of joy in all who seek the Lord of heaven and earth. What greater joy is there to a believer than when he or she is betrothed to the Lord! Because God betrothed them to Him, they receive all things that suit their life. Furthermore, to be betrothed to Him implies His righteousness, justice, lovingkindness and compassion will constantly be at work in them. They will surely overcome the Adversary when he tries, tempts and suffers them. Everything they do in life will revolve around the joy that God caused in them. Their intentions and thoughts for Him will be established by His word. Then, they inevitably fulfill the Scripture that requires them to do every word and deed in the name of the Lord; they will not refrain from praising and thanking God.
One thing is certain about God. What He promised He upholds. The world in its sin and unbelievers in their unbelief distance themselves from it, but those that come to God by faith will see the light of His unchangeableness. When God created Adam and Eve, He created them with joy. It was only when they undermined their relationship with Him that they lost it. Yet, God did not leave them and the mankind that came through them without hope. Through the judgments that came by His word He gave them faith and restored them to Him. Everyone that walked with Him by faith, He saved; they received joy. And though Israel with His Law failed to uphold his calling, He did not leave men without an alternative for joy. He sent His beloved Son to call men to Him. He gave them the avenue for faith. The Son performed mighty deeds to fulfill the will of God. “They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm” (Luke 8:24).
What is saddening to see is the absence of complete faith in the Lord in many churches. They see the things written in the word, but do not believe them for an effect. If they are in the body of Christ, as they claim to be, and yet are ambiguous concerning Him, they do not have the joy that has blessings. Whatever joy they have is of the flesh. But when they see God through their spirit, the promise of the Lord will be established in them. They shall see the advent of joy. Nevertheless, the proof of their ambiguity is amply noticed when joy is absent in them. Faith in the Lord ought to be the sign to see. It makes men righteous. By it the Lord knows thoroughly those that believe in Him. They are transformed for righteousness, justice, lovingkindness and compassion. They being made anew will imitate the Lord.
It is impossible to find joy unless we fully believe in the Lord. Though Jesus was in the boat, the disciples were overcome by fear; it did not give them joy. They cried for His help. The Lord performed a miracle when they called upon Him. Yet, He questioned their faith. They were yet to receive joy. To fully believe in the Lord is to believe in Him without restraint and misgivings. In order that the disciples possess such belief Jesus in compassion manifested Himself to them as the Son of God. Now, such manifestations of the Lord are preserved for us that we who read the word might instantly see Him with our spirit. Their fear and amazement at the power of Jesus are a witness to us. For the Lord does not manifest Himself again with reference to Him being the Son of God. But instead manifests Himself as the Savior to the believing. They that were the first to witness the Lord did eventually overcome fear and having fully believed in Him obtained joy. If they were convinced of Christ by His word and mighty deeds, we who read their gospel must invariably believe in Him who saves. After all, the gospel is the source for joy. “They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household’” (Acts 16:31).
All it takes for one to be saved from his sins and transgressions is belief in the Lord. It credits him with His righteousness. This was the pattern from the beginning. To be made righteous is to be made blameless. And when God makes a man blameless by crediting him righteousness, it implies that his belief in Him was without blemish and fear. He betrothed him to Him. His joy will be untold, even as it was for the jailor and his household. His salvation is revealed to the world by the righteousness, justice, lovingkindness and compassion of God that constantly work in him. For this reason, the Spirit in Paul elsewhere asserts that with heart a person believes resulting in righteousness and with mouth he confesses resulting in salvation. This relationship with God defines joy “and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might” (Eph. 1:19).
So, salvation is by grace through faith. When our hearts are cut by faith, grace undoubtedly appears. This avails joy. It is absolutely wrong for Christians to say that certain works are needed for salvation. That God’s power is with surpassing greatness infers the impossibility in evaluating it toward the believing. Hence, salvation became a gift. But, deeming it to have a part with a work they do will infer the greatness of God’s power as measurable. It implies that salvation is not by grace alone. This does not avail them the joy that comes from God’s judgments. Further, they indicate that God relies on man’s works to make him His son. With such transgression they will undoubtedly be in the wrong. The words of the apostle are a proof to this when He says, “I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say” (3 John 1:9). The surpassing greatness of God’s power is in Christ and he who believes in Him is saved beyond his knowledge. In other words, he is wonderfully blessed. He being in awe of the honor bestowed on him declares that God knows His servant.