Saturday, February 6, 2016
In 2 Corinthians 6:10, the Apostle Paul gives a list of seemingly contradictory attributes of Christians. He tells us that he is “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing…” Pastor John Piper has said that Christians are, or at least ought to be, simultaneously both the saddest people on earth, as well as the most joy-filled. How can this be? Joy: Our lives are filled with joy because of Christ’s work on our behalf. We are the most joyful of people because we have the full knowledge of the plan of salvation in Christ, and revel in our own salvation by grace. Our joy is not in circumstances, but in God. “You have put more joy in my heart then they have when their grain and wine abound.” Psalm 4:7. Sorrow: Our lives are simultaneously filled with sorrow because we better understand the full weight of sin in this world. We know that all of the ramifications to sin—whether the breakdown in human relationships, sickness, loneliness, death—is not the way that the Lord intended for us to live. Author Paul Tripp says, “Death is the enemy of everything good and beautiful about life as God planned it. Death should make you morally sad and righteously angry. It is a cruel indicator that the world is broken; it is not functioning according to God’s original design.” Tripp, citing 1 Corinthians 15:25-26. The rest of the world may try to find the “silver lining” of a tough situation. The world may use modern psychotherapy to help with grief, or turn to work, drugs, or other forms of escape, in order to salve the wounds. But as Christians, we must confront sin and all its ramifications fully in the face and hate sin with all of our being. When we see death, our sorrow is greater than the rest of the world because our hatred of sin is greater than the rest of the world. We can, therefore, take this seemingly contradictory position of great sorrow and grief joy in the midst of suffering.