With Great Joy
by Chris Larson
At the end of Jude’s epistle stand two verses that rival the most rapturous language found in Scripture. Tucked into verses 24–25 is a small phrase that should bring comfort to Christians who struggle with weak faith. We are told that Jesus will bring us into heaven “with great joy.”
Our hearts can tremble when we are pressed down by the remaining corruption of sin that dwells within us. Yes, even those who have been justified by faith in Christ alone struggle with doubt and assurance. The child of God is not immediately delivered from the consequences of sin.
We have seen in our studies this month Jude’s sober warnings of the coming judgement upon those who trouble the covenant people God (vv. 12–15). However, at the end of the letter he turns to what first prompted him to take up his pen: encouragement for believers (see vv. 3, 20–25).
A lack of personal holiness was obvious in the lives of those apostates who crept into the church. But how can we, as believers, be sure of our own standing before a holy God when we are not manifesting the growth in grace we expect? This question is not morbid introspection; Christians go through times of real discouragement. Scottish preacher Alexander Whyte compared our spiritual life to “falling down and getting up again, falling down and getting up again, all the way to heaven.” We must continually acknowledge our lack of holiness, repent, and rest in the gospel promises of our covenant-keeping God. Disillusionment, heartbreak, sickness, and death are inescapably with us this side of glory. Nevertheless, no matter how difficult life becomes or how much corruption invades the sacred assemblies of Christians, our Lord brings us into heaven “with great joy.” The Bible clearly teaches that God Himself rejoices over His people (Is. 62:5; Zeph. 3:17; Luke 15:7, 10). Yes, friend, Jesus will be glad to see you in heaven.
Let us draw fresh encouragement from our Savior’s work on our behalf. He is faithful. His promises are sure. He will complete the work He has begun in us. He will cause us to walk before Him and be blameless. He will bring us before Himself, His Father, and the host of heaven, to stand clothed in His righteousness and with great joy.