The Joy of the SpiritPosted: June 12, 2010
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
1Thessalonians 1:6-7 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
Out of all of the truths that lie in the gospel, nothing should bring a smile to the face of a believer more than enjoying the gospel. The Spirit allows the believer to enjoy the gospel at salvation and forever after; and he is able to boast in this gospel, which is the greatest news that exists.
The joy of the Spirit is marveling at the fact that the gospel of Christ allows believers to have enjoyment both on earth and eternally. This joy lasts forever, and is indeed unfathomable. It is an eternal joy that will – and should also now – bring delight to men’s souls when they find that all happiness and delight and pleasures meet in the gospel alone. The Spirit causes affections to be revealed in – and through – the believer. These affections should be seen flowing out of the believer in all their movements, actions, words and thoughts. The believer should always see, find, and enjoy the gospel given to them by the Spirit at salvation.
From the moment of salvation, the Spirit was given to the believer to aid them in pursuing perfection: living every day for the glory of God, by the example of Christ’s life on earth, through the enablement of the Holy Spirit. From that moment, the believer begins on the path of advancement towards perfection, which will culminate in glory. It is the joy of the Spirit that makes this process so great and so enjoyable; being able to live every day in the Christian faith, living the Christian walk, boasting in the gospel. There is no greater joy in life than living out something so great and being able to enjoy it always, no matter if the days are hard or easy. The Christian life is enjoyable because the believer has been given the Spirit. This living for the gospel and enjoying the gospel boasts in Christ, boasts in God, and boasts in the Spirit. When the believer lives for the gospel and enjoys the gospel every day – seeing that it is their very life – they then enjoy boasting every day for the gospel, in the gospel. Living a gospel-centered life for the glory of God boasts in the Spirit because without Him, the believer could never enjoy the gospel.
It is sad how often believers either forget or neglect to look at any of the above. In the post-modern world people tend to look everywhere for their own enjoyment. Sex, booze, drugs, filthy reading, eating – what they want, when they want, and of as much as they want. People today (and yes, even believers) look for enjoyment in friends, in popularity, in community; or even in getting a spiritual high off studying theology and doctrines for their own mind and not to boast in the gospel. Man looks for enjoyments in politics for fame, power, wealth, possessions, etc. These are all part of how the world enjoys life, and enjoys it for themselves. I simply say what Paul told Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7: “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.” Believers delight in the duties related to that which saved them, and what is given them and named as theirs: the Father, for His glory, Christ, because of His cross, and the Spirit, given so that the believer can enjoy the good news. For it is the joy of the Spirit that allows mankind to pursue a life of holiness like Christ and be like Christ – for Christ – so that others may see the believer boast in the gospel. This joy is what gives the believer a deeper, more intimate relationship with God, as he gains the intellectual knowledge of the gospel. This Spirit of the gospel gives the believer a brighter, more desirable sight of the enjoyment that lies in the gospel; it gives a more vigorous faith to the gospel, it gives a delight to the gospel, and a will that enjoys the gospel. It gives the believer joy in that they can know the delight of giving up the flesh and finding joys not in this world, but in what saved them – the gospel. And this joy of the Spirit is what gives the believer a willingness to suffer for the sake of the gospel and make themselves servants of the Master. Having the Spirit of joy is simply enjoying the gospel forever. How great it is for sinners to be able to enjoy anything for eternity, let alone knowing and enjoying God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.