Luke 2

Don’t be afraid. Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people…

Joy is gladness. When you share joy with God, you are glad to be with him. And God is always glad to be with you. When you share joy with others, you are glad to be together.

Happiness is not the same as joy. Happiness depends on circumstances. With joy you can be glad to be with God and others even in the midst of great suffering. In fact, our greatest joy may be just at those very times in our lives that are the hardest.

We continue to connect biblical principles with the latest brain research. Much of what I have been experiencing along these lines is informed by Dr. Jim Wilder and his team at Life Model Works. It centers on joy.

Last week, we noted the reason God has come to us in Jesus is to let us know how glad he is to be with us. How glad he is to be our God. Our adoring Father in heaven. The Christmas angel announced it:

Don’t be afraid. Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people…

So, you see, the good news, the gospel of Jesus, centers on joy. Forgiveness of sin through Jesus restores our relationship with God, but the joy of forgiveness is only part of the great joy God has in mind. When Jesus is explaining why he teaches what he teaches he explains this clearly:

I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy.

As Christians, we speak a lot about grace. We explain our trust in Jesus, our faith, as being “saved by grace.” But, then we do something that isn’t helpful. It has to do with forgiveness of sin. We connect being saved solely with forgiveness. But, to be saved is so much more than simply forgiveness. We are saved from sin. But we are also saved for something. We are saved for Joy.


If forgiveness on the cross is all there is, then what are we suppose to do for the rest of our lives?


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