Galatians 


Study 41: Gal.5:22-26

The fruit of the Spirit (2)

Joy


Rejoice in this    Joy set before  With the Father   Summary


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Gal.5:22-26



As mentioned in a previous study, joy, along side love and peace are mentioned in the last discourse of the Lord to the disciples in relation to the coming of the Holy Spirit. After this discourse Jesus goes and prays His great prayer that is recorded  for us in Jn. 17,  where we  read these words.

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Jn.17:11-16

Jesus prays that we might have His joy fulfilled in us. It follows from our previous discussions that this joy is the direct result of walking in the Spirit. So we need to consider then what the joy of Jesus was, if we are to know what that joy is that we are meant to have fulfilled in us. We can not possibly cover everything that the NT says on the subject, but we can highlight some aspects of it.


1. Rejoice in this...

And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.  And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.


Lk.10:17-24

This passage in Luke is quite revealing. Seventy disciples were sent by Jesus to every city that He Himself would go. On their return they rejoiced in that even the devils were subject to them. But, what was Jesus' response?  He said they were not to rejoice in those things, and then mentions the fall of Satan. As recorded in Isa. 14:12-15; Ezk.28:13-19, Satan  fell because his heart was lifted up, with pride and tried to be as God. Pride was the cause, and Jesus was warning his disciples of this terrible sin.

We are not to rejoice even in  that the devils are subject to us. As  Jesus pointed out,  it is only delegated authority from Him anyway, and so how can any rejoice in these things as if they were the source of the 'ministry'.   Jesus gives us a clear command NOT to rejoice in this. Instead we are to rejoice in something much more humbling: that our names are written in heaven.

The former rejoicing is from a proud heart in what [we think] we  do, the later from a grateful one, from what God has done for us. We deserve nothing of God's love or mercy. Yet He came from glory to die for us and save us, and do all that was necessary for our salvation. Our rejoicing is in this then: that we have been rescued from hell. Casting out demons, or any other ministry done successfully,   is no indication of spirituality, let alone  that we are saved (cf Mtt. 7:21-23). Our joy is that we know that  our names are written in heaven.

We then see that Jesus rejoiced, and  His rejoicing was that these things were hidden from the prudent and wise, and had been revealed  to the babes. This is not unconnected with  the previous thought of the disciples being joyful about their salvation. On another occasion Jesus said that no one can enter into the  kingdom unless they come as little children ( Mtt.18:1-4). Jesus rejoiced in this, because it means that these secrets  are revealed only to those who are humble and are not of Satan's disposition, which means that there will be no more repeat of that rebellion.

Jesus tells  His disciples to say that they are truly blessed in having seen what they have seen.  Many prophets and kings have  desired to see them, but now in these end days those who come as little children have them revealed. These things are not for the great and mighty, but for those who are of humble spirit so that God has  revealed  these things to  them.

Do we rejoice in the same things? Many rejoice when great and learned preachers and teachers come and expound their knowledge, but do we rejoice when we see the simple person, who knows Christ and has had the secrets of the gospel revealed to him, not by learning, but by God's revelation to his heart? What do we really treasure? To those walking in the Spirit only those things that Jesus values.

Our joy  is that God has  been pleased to reveal Himself to us and show us those things kept secret until these last days. This has nothing to do with anything that we do or earn, but with God's grace in that He has chosen to reveal these great eternal truths to us. Boasting is excluded here, the flesh has no part in it. This is why we can rejoice, if we are walking in the Spirit then we will have that same joy that Jesus had.

2. The Joy set before


I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance........................... Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Lk.15:7;10

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Heb.12:2


In the threefold parable of Lk.15. we have the message of something, or someone being lost and then found. And Jesus makes the point that there is joy in heaven over one who comes to repentance. This was the whole purpose of Jesus coming into the world, to save His people from their sins. ( Mtt.1:21), and so when someone  comes to repentance there is great joy in God's heart, for another  one has been rescued from eternal destruction.

Note that  the Bible never talks about people coming to faith, as is the case with many modern day evangelical talking.  Faith comes to the  person  when God speaks His word into their hearts. Rom.10:17. Instead the Bible calls us to repentance eg. Mk.2:17 Maybe repentance is a truth shied away from these days.

In the Hebrews' passage we note that for the joy set before Jesus He endured the cross with all its shame. He saw ahead and the results of His sufferings: many sons coming to glory Heb.2:10. Thus the Lord endured it all for the sake of the lost.

What about us: do we rejoice in one sinner coming to repentance? Or do we rejoice in the part we may play? Do we endure the heart ache and suffering  that may come our way when dealing with souls,  seeing the joy ahead or do we not bother? Jesus is our example so let us walk as He walked.

This thought of rejoicing over others' well being is seen throughout the NT. Paul in his epistles often talks about him rejoicing over others. Here is a selection of scriptures that, make the point.

 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

II Cor.1:14

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind........................... Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.

Phil.2:2,17

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

Phil.4:1


For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?  For ye are our glory and joy.

I Thess.1:19-20


3. Jesus with the Father


 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

Jn.14:28

Returning to the last discourse of Jesus, we  read that He was telling them of His return to the Father and that they would , if they loved Him, rejoice. Why is this? After all they felt safe with Him in their midst on earth, yet He had to leave them and sorrow was filling their hearts. (cf Jn.16:16-20). How would they manage with such a prospect? Jesus had to leave them, for the great plan of redemption required it to be so.

Their sorrow would be turned to joy, because Jesus was to return to the Father, and His returning meant at least three vital things. Firstly Jesus' return to His Father meant simply that His work of redemption on earth had been accepted in heaven. Secondly that He was Lord of all, and finally that by being with his Father He could pour out the Holy Spirit making the benefits of Calvary available to all. Surely this is joy indeed!



A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

Jn.16:16-24


The joy of the world, that is of the flesh, it comes and it goes. Jesus said that no one could take our joy away, and further it would be full !  Full has the idea of being made complete in every detail. Eternal and full it can't be better than that!

The whole context of this passage is the coming of the Holy Spirit. When He comes, Jesus said, the Spirit will amongst other things take of Jesus and show it to us ( Jn.16:15). Surely this is heavenly joy itself! What could be more joyful than being shown the things of Christ?




4. Summary

We have, by no means scratched the surface of joy, and the reader is encouraged to consider this further and look up all the other references to joy in the NT; but sufficient has been said to show that true joy is nothing like what the flesh counts as joy.  Here are some of the things that we have considered
 

1. Joy in that our names are written in heaven
2. Joy that God has revealed His truths to the  babes
3. Joy over the sinner coming to repentance
4. Joy over others' well being in Christ
5. Joy that Jesus is now with His Father, making His finished work at the cross freely available to all.
6. Joy in being taught by the Holy Spirit about the Lord Jesus Christ.


None of this has anything to do with self happiness or pleasures of the flesh, but of life in the Spirit . Joy  is not what comes from external  circumstances, of the flesh, but what is true and real in God.