“…I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; … there has been borne for you a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
Joy to the world? So, where is it? If we honestly appraise our world it is characterised - not with joy but grief, sadness, turmoil, war, suffering, crime, and wickedness. Yes, we do see and experience, by God’s grace, momentary glimpses of joy but surely God had something deeper in mind when we consider the text above - right?
He certainly did! True joy, everlasting joy can only be found in Jesus Christ the Saviour who was borne to die as our sin-bearer, so we might know peace with God which is foundational for true joy! That’s why believers in Jesus are those alone, which know real joy! This is gospel joy. Baptist minister Octavius Winslow of the 1800’s wrote this about the “in Christ” joy of the believer:
“The religion of Christ is the religion of joy. Christ came to take away our sins, to roll off our curse, to unbind our chains, to open our prison house, to cancel our debt; in a word, to give us the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Is not this joy? Where can we find a joy so real, so deep, so pure, so lasting? There is every element of joy – deep, ecstatic, satisfying, sanctifying joy – in the gospel of Christ. The believer in Jesus is essentially a happy man. The child of God is, from necessity, a joyful man. His sins are forgiven, his soul is justified, his person is adopted, his trials are blessings, his conflicts are victories, his death is immortality, his future is a heaven of inconceivable, unthought-of, untold, and endless blessedness. With such a God, such a Savior, and such a hope, is he not, ought he not, to be a joyful man?”