The Epistle of Joy
In every situation, even the most difficult trial in life’s darkest hour, Christians have a reason to rejoice. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul encourages us to look to the future with genuine optimism, trusting that God and His promises will prevail.
Philippians is one of my favorite epistles of the Apostle Paul, and it is called in church history “the epistle of joy.” Because again and again in this letter, Paul speaks of his own joy, which is infectious, and he then encourages the people at Philippi to participate in the joy that Paul is experiencing—and that while he is writing to them from imprisonment! And he said, “I rejoice; therefore, you rejoice as well.” And Paul, at that time, is anticipating the possibility of his own imminent demise, but he looks forward to the future with joyous anticipation. And this is a theme, of course, that’s not found merely in the Philippian correspondence, but it’s found throughout the writings of the Apostle. And so frequent is this motif of joy that I think it is safe to say that this fruit of the Holy Spirit is something that should be evidenced and manifest to some significant degree in every true Christian’s life. Yes, we are to participate in the mourning and the sorrows of this world and be willing to go through the valley of the shadow of death for the sake of Christ. And yes, there are times when we are cast down but not destroyed and we sorrow. But the basic posture of the Christian should be one of joyous optimism, because we know in whom we have believed, and our trust is in Him, and we know that God certainly will prevail. So, there is a reason for our joy.