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Happiness for the Weary

Life is filled with many emotions. People feel sadness, grief, despair, and hopelessness. People also feel joy, peace, and happiness. The greatness of the Gospel is that it brings happiness. Of course, Christians are bound to feel the agony of grief but, we know that there are better times ahead. That truth brings happiness. Isaiah 52: 7 says:

How beautiful upon the mountains

are the feet of him who brings good news,

who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,

who publishes salvation,

who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’ -ESV

The “good news” brings happiness. William Wilberforce was a Christian hero who fought against the slave trade in Britain in the late 1700’s. Even though Wilberforce is best known for his work against slavery he also had a great grasp on the truth of happiness found in Isaiah 52:

The gospel freely admitted makes a man happy. It gives him peace with God, and makes him happy in God. It gives to industry a noble, contented look which selfish drudgery never wore; and from the moment that a man begins to do his work for his Saviour’s sake, he feels that the most ordinary employments are full of sweetness and dignity, and that the most difficult are not impossible. And if any of you, my friends, is weary with his work, if dissatisfaction with yourself or sorrow of any kind disheartens you, if at any time you feel the dull paralysis of conscious sin, or the depressing influence of vexing thoughts, look to Jesus, and be happy. Be happy, and your joyful work will prosper well. -Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 368.

While sorrow and grief may be what you are feeling at this moment, do not forget that happiness will come. Never forget the Good News of Jesus Christ and, when we the peace of Christ comes upon you, you are bound to be happy. When we are happy in the peace of Christ, we are happy in God and, I pray that happiness finds its way into your heart.

Thanks for reading.

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Access to God

Yesterday I posted “Peace With God” which featured Romans 5: 1-2 which says:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. -ESV

I highlighted that the Gospel of Jesus brings peace with God. Along with peace the Gospel brings something just as amazing…access.

Access with God in history has always been limited. Only a handfull of OT people were allowed to have access to God. The Gospel completely changed that. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ we, as believers, have access to a holy and transcendent God.

Paul, the Pharisee of Pharisees, understood fully what it meant to not have access to God. He knew the OT teaching about the holy of holies. He knew that only a high priest was allowed to enter that place and have access to God. Yet, Paul’s understanding of this is totally transformed by the Gospel. This is evidenced when he writes this in Romans 5, “we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand”. 

R.C. Sproul writes:

The moment Jesus was slain, the instant the Just One died for the unjust, the veil in the temple was torn. The presence of God became accessible to us. For the Christian the “No Access” sign was removed from the gates of paradise. We may now walk freely on holy ground. We have access to His grace, but even more, we have access to Him. -R. C. Sproul. The Holiness of God (Kindle Locations 1569-1572). Kindle Edition.

The veil that separated humanity from God has been torn. The inaccessible God became accessible through Jesus’ death. Matthew 27: 50-51 says:

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. -ESV

The curtain that designated the holy of holies which was only limited to the high priest once a year was torn. That created access for the regular believer to enter in through faith in Jesus. Approaching the most holy God was once inconceivable. But Jesus changed that by creating access to God through his sacrifice. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Hebrews 4:14-16 which says:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -ESV

We have a high priest that has obtained access to God. We come before Him through faith in that great high priest. We come in confidence, fear, and respect to the transcendent and holy God.

Draw near to Him through the access obtained by the work of Jesus!

 

Peace With God

Romans 5: 1-2 says:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. -ESV

All of us struggle to find peace in our lives. Many people talk about their “demons” or the “skeletons” they have in their closets. These things tend to drive people away from peace. They live in fear that these things will creep back into their lives and haunt them. However, there is even a greater unrest that we all have faced. That unrest comes from our battle with God. We all know what it means to live in our sin and love doing so. We know that living in this manner is displeasing to God but it makes us an enemy of God. That unrest takes a toll on the soul. R.C. Sproul puts it this way:

We all know what it means to be stricken with inner restlessness. We know the gnawing feelings of emptiness and guilt that come from estrangement from God. -R. C. Sproul. The Holiness of God (Kindle Location 1553). Kindle Edition.

Sproul points out that our estrangement from God leads to “inner restlessness”. That inner restlessness is the lack of peace and that lack of peace can only be reversed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Notice what Romans 5: 1-2 says about our faith in Jesus when Paul writes, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus can give what every person is looking for. Jesus can provide what every person needs. And that is peace. Jesus gives a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7).  He grants peace that conquers even in the face of death.

I was once an enemy of God. I ran from God, cursed God, hated God, and rejected God. But, even though I engaged in war with Him and tried to thwart His battle plans He still reached down and granted me peace. He saved me from my inner restlessness and gave me inner rest.

So, the question I ask you is:

Do you have peace?

Thanks for reading.

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