Joy in God’s Kingdom is quite different than what goes for joy in kingdoms of this world.
The joy God instills in our spirit, along with righteousness and peace, is produced by The Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
The counterfeit joy of the Devil is temporary and leads to eternal destruction. There is no joy in the actions of the flesh.
“Now the actions of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that. I am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. Now those who belong to the Messiah Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also be guided. Let’s stop being arrogant, provoking one another and envying one another.” Galatians 5:19-26 ISV
Paul’s concluding words of his first letter to the Corinthians clearly shows that contrast.
“If any man doesn’t love The LORD Yeshua the Messiah, let him be cursed. (Greek: anathema) Come, Lord! (Aramaic: Maranatha!) The grace of The LORD Yeshua the Messiah be with you. My love to all of you in Messiah Yeshua. Amen.” 1 Corinthians 16:22-24 WMB.
In the vein of Maranatha, Paul writes to the Thessalonians and us.
Introduction to God’s grace working powerfully in the Thessalonians.
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is only fitting, because your faith is increasing abundantly, and the love of each and every one of you toward one another grows ever greater. As a result, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you indeed are suffering. For after all it is only right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us, when The LORD Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These people will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of The LORD and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified among His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—because our testimony to you was believed” 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10 NASB.
God’s grace working powerfully in us.
“for which also we do pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of the calling, and may fulfill all the good pleasure of goodness, and the work of the faith in power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 YLT
Paul includes: “The grace of The LORD Yeshua the Messiah…” in the concluding blessing of each of his epistles.
“The grace of The LORD Yeshua the Messiah, God’s love, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” 2 Corinthians 13:14 WMB (Galatians 6:18; Ephesians 6:23-24; Philippians 4:23; Colossians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 4:22; Titus 3:15; Philemon 1:25)
By God’s Grace, we are righteous and holy in His new covenant kingdom.
“…by God’s grace they are freely declared to be in the right, to be members of the covenant, through the redemption which is found in the Messiah, Jesus.
God put Jesus forth as the place of mercy, through faithfulness, by means of his blood. He did this to demonstrate his covenant justice, because of the passing over (in divine forbearance) of sins committed beforehand. This was to demonstrate his covenant justice in the present time: that is, that he himself is in the right, and that he declares to be in the right everyone who trusts in the faithfulness of Jesus.” Romans 3:19-26 KNT (Philippians 3:7-11)
We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:1-5 BSB.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 BSB.
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice…
“Rejoice in The LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4.
“The grace of The LORD Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:11-14 NASB.
~ Bill Bremer
Bill Bremer is Founder and Managing Director at Kingdom Relationships Colorado.