Joy Unspeakable

When was the last time you received something that filled you with joy?  Did it happen on your birthday?  At Christmas?  On a day that was unexpected?  It’s one thing to be filled with joy when we receive something from someone.  It’s another thing altogether when we receive something from someone when we didn’t deserve or earn it.  And that is what we get with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And that, dear reader, is JOY UNSPEAKABLE!

Often we receive things as some form of payment for something we have done.  I give you something and you give me something in return.  On the surface it’s a gift, but it is really repayment.  But with the Gospel, there is absolutely nothing we gave God for His gift of grace.  If there was, it would not have been a gift.  It would have been a repayment or a reward for something we had done for Him. 

We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.  (Luke 17:10)

Even if we were to do everything God commands us to do—which, by the way, we have never done—we would have only done our duty and God would be under no obligation to give us anything in return.  Jerry Bridges gives the following example:

Suppose you perfectly obey all the traffic laws of your state.  You always stay within the speed limit, always come to a complete stop at stop signs, always drive in the proper lane, always use your turn signals—always obey every traffic rule.  Do you receive any reward?  Not at all, that is what you are supposed to do.  You have only done your duty.  You do not, by perfect obedience of the traffic laws, obligate the state to reward you in any manner.  All you can say is, “I have only done my duty.”

Does not the Creator of all things (including you) have the right to demand and expect perfect obedience from His creation without owing any reward in return?  Of course He does.  He said to Job, “Who has a claim against me that I must pay?  Everything under heaven belongs to me” (Job 41:11), an assertion which was later echoed by the apostle Paul: “Who has ever given to God that God should repay him?” (Romans 11:35.) 

So if it is impossible to make God our debtor, and He still gives us the gift of His Son, how are we to respond?  We should respond with a heart that overflows with love and thanksgiving for the gift we did not earn or deserve.  Peter said it well when he said we are to rejoice with a “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8) because of all that we have been given by the One who freely gave. 

Hearts that have a hold on this JOY UNSPEAKABLE beat for Jesus.  They beat for Jesus in the home.  They beat for Jesus at the office.  They beat for Jesus when on vacation.  They beat for Jesus when engaged in a hobby.  They even beat for Jesus when faced with trials and suffering, because there is great joy that comes from knowing that God will provide everything we need to face every challenge and ultimately bring us safely across the great divide.  Now that is a JOY UNSPEAKABLE that speaks loud enough for all the world to hear.

It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,

Full of glory, full of glory,

It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,

Oh, the half has never yet been told.

 

This is the Gospel.  This is grace for your race.  NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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