3. THE JOY
"In your presence is fullness of joy." Psalm 16:11
"There, in your blissful presence, reigns
Immortal joy serene;
No wintry storms are heard to roar,
Nor desolation seen.
"Around you flow unmixed delights,
The rivers deep and wide;
While from the ocean of your love,
Proceeds an endless tide.
"You of all joy the center are;
Oh! never from my soul depart;
Blest Jesus! let your saving love,
Like dew, drop gently from above."
When the Christian has passed the valley of life, and is done with mortal
care and grief, the Savior will welcome him home to glory with this joyful
invitation, "Enter into the joy of your Lord." Then begins the heavenly joy
of the believer. He rests with Jesus and enters into the joy of his Lord.
And what is this joy? What is there about it that is so attractive? It is a
joy unspeakable and full of glory. The pen cannot describe it, nor the
tongue declare it. It is the joy of being with Christ- the joy of possessing
the heavenly inheritance- a fullness of joy. The joy of heaven is full,
satisfying, and eternal. It is ecstatic joy. It transports the ransomed soul
with ineffable delights!
This joy is to be found in the blissful presence of Christ. Blessed Jesus!
You are the source and center of heavenly joy. Enable me to fix my heart
upon you. Bestow upon me, your unworthy servant, the joys of your salvation.
Let me not wander one moment from the path of life. Guide me safely through
the wilderness, over Jordan, until, landed on Canaan's happy shores, I see
you face to face, and in your presence, taste, through eternal ages, the
joys of a redeemed soul.
"In your presence," cries the Psalmist, "is fullness of joy." There is an
abundance to lift every soul. There will be no lack of joy in heaven. The
saints will always "be joyful in glory."
How ravishing will be the joys of the redeemed in the mansions of glory!
What ineffable joy will fill the soul of the believer, when he sits down
with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of God- when he reigns with
Immanuel on his throne- when he views all heaven's bliss as his! Amid such
joys as these, surely his enraptured soul must be lost in wonder, love, and
praise. But the joy of the glorified saint in the presence of Christ is
beyond human comprehension or knowledge.
"His joys are all alike unknown,
As, seated on Immanuel's throne,
He drinks the living streams of bliss
And views all heaven's joys as his."
Let us contemplate the joy of the saint who is presented faultless before
the presence of God. There is a glorious day approaching, when "the redeemed
of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting
joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and
sorrow and mourning shall flee away." Then shall ransomed sinners begin
their songs of joyfulness in the celestial Zion. Then shall all their tears
be wiped away, and eternal joy and gladness fill their happy souls.
There are three sources from which joy will be brought to the saint in his
glorified and exalted state; a contemplation of the past, the present, and
1. CONTEMPLATION OF THE PAST. When he arrives at the realms of glory and
looks back upon his past sufferings, how will joy arise in his heart! With
pleasure will he contemplate the way through which the Lord has led him. Now
he sees that all his earthly trials, and afflictions, and sorrows, and tears
have come to an end. He has gotten safely over the tempestuous ocean of life
and reached the blessed haven of Immanuel's land. This reflection will
afford him unspeakable joy. He views with a joyful heart all the former
dealings of God with his soul. Though, during his pilgrimage on earth, he
was often ready to exclaim with the afflicted Patriarch when contemplating
the providences of God with regard to himself, "All these things are against
me!" Yet now he sees that "all things" have worked together for his good.
In heaven, Christ will make everything plain to the believer. "You don't
understand now what I am doing," says the Savior, "but you shall know
hereafter." The blessed "hereafter" has come when the Christian will know
why so many calamities befell him on earth; why so many afflictions were
sent upon him, why so many sorrows were strewed around his pathway to
immortal bliss. All was fitting him for glory. Every trial, every affliction
was lifting him higher towards heaven. Now that he has reached the blessed
shores of glory, he will joyfully exclaim, in the view of the past, "O,
Lord, you have led me forth by the right way!"
2. Look again at the joy of the saint with Christ as he VIEWS HIS PRESENT
GLORIOUS STATE. How will his heart overflow with seraphic joy and love, when
he sees his Redeemer, who is to him the most attractive of all objects, and
the blessed source of his joys! If "you love him even though you have never
seen him. Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are
happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy," what will be the joy when he
shall see him as he is, face to face, in the heavenly kingdom, in all his
Of this joy we can know but little. It passes human thought. All the
preciousness and loveliness of the Savior will then appear to view. This
will fill the soul with unutterable joy. The enraptured saint will be
enabled to exclaim without fear or hesitation, "My Beloved is mine and I am
His; He is the chief among ten thousand and altogether lovely!"
The presence of the Savior will be a source of unspeakable joy to the
Christian. Nothing will cause the heart to rejoice more than this blissful
sight of a glorified Redeemer. Christ cheered his sorrowful disciples with
this blessed hope. "I will see you again," he says, "and your heart shall
rejoice, and your joy no man takes from you." From the blessed Jesus will
emanate swelling streams of joy to refresh and invigorate the people of God.
How sweet is this thought!
Has heavenly joy any attractions for my readers? Is not this single
consideration the joy arising from a sight of Christ and his glory,
sufficient to lead them to inquire the way to Zion? What more powerful
attraction could present itself to allure sinners to glory?
But there are innumerable 'rivulets of joy' that issue from this fountain.
The presence and society of the glorious Savior is a boundless ocean of joy;
while the enjoyment of heavenly bliss, the communion with saints and angels,
are the streams of pleasure that are lost in this fathomless abyss! As the
saint views his present condition, he sees that it is one of perfect
blessedness. What emotions of joy must thrill through his soul when he sees
himself encircled with divine glory, when he views all the present bliss of
heaven as his, when he is made a partaker of all the soul-ravishing
enjoyments and delights of paradise!
3. But this is not all. As he VIEWS THE FUTURE, one perpetual scene of
blessedness lies before him! Ages of glory in endless succession, in which
he is to possess fullness of joy in the presence of God, roll away before
his blissful imagination. What ineffable joy must spring up in his heart as
he contemplates eternal bliss! He sees before him an ocean of glory without
a shore, and without a storm. An eternity of glory must surely fill his soul
with inexpressible joy! With the greatest delight will he meditate on
eternity. This is the crowning glory of the whole. The anticipation of the
future will afford the saint present felicity; and as he sails over the
boundless ocean he will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!
Concerning his people, a God of infinite love has said, "Everlasting joy
shall be unto them." The joys of the redeemed in glory have no end. Those
happy souls before the throne of God fear no termination to their heavenly
felicity. Well may the poet exclaim:
"Could you, so rich in rapture, fear an end;
That ghastly thought would drink up all your joy,
And quite unparadise the realms of light."
Thus we have briefly noticed heavenly joy, but the half is not told! O, that
every reader may be attracted by those unspeakable joys which are in the
presence of God. Let him contemplate these joys, let him anticipate them,
and he will look beyond the fleeting delights of an evil world, to those
pleasures which are at God's right hand forever. Earth will then lose its
attractions, and heaven be ever in his eye.
Let the Christian take courage in his pilgrimage- let the joy of the Lord be
his strength. Let him remember, that though this world is a 'night of
weeping', yet there is a bright morning coming- a morning of everlasting
joy. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Let the
weeping Christian remember that he will soon reap in joy- that he shall
rejoice in God, his unfailing portion through a glorious eternity. "Those
who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goes forth and weeps, bearing
precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his
sheaves with him."
May a bleeding Savior be your all and in all; and when his glory shall be
revealed, may you, among countless millions, be one who shall be glad also
with exceeding joy. Rest in Jesus, and in a little while all will be well.
"And now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who
will bring you into his glorious presence innocent of sin and with great
joy. All glory to him, who alone is God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our
Lord. Yes, glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to him, in the
beginning, now, and forevermore. Amen." Jude 1:24-25
"Joy is a fruit that will not grow
In nature's barren soil;
All we boast till Christ we know,
Is vanity and toil.
"But where the Lord has planted grace,
And made his glories known;
There fruits of heavenly joy and peace
Are found, and there alone.
"A bleeding Savior seen by faith,
A sense of pard'ning love;
A hope that triumphs over death,
Give joys like those above.
"To take a glimpse within the veil,
To know that God is mine;
Are springs of joy that never fail,
"These are the joys which satisfy,
And sanctify the mind;
Which make the spirit mount on high,
And leave the world behind.
"No more, believers, mourn your lot,
But if you are the Lord's;
Resign to those who know him not.
Such joys as earth affords."