THE JOY OF CHRISTIANITY SERIES

The joy of having a Savior

 

There was a small African village located close to some dangerous cliffs. For many generations, the parents taught their children to stay away from them, but one day a young boy chased after an animal that ran toward the cliffs. He was so focused on following the animal that he soon found himself next to the cliffs. Well, his curiosity got the best of him, and he began to explore them. Everything was great at a first until he got a little to close to the edge and dirt gave way causing him to slide over the edge. Fortunately for him, there was a root of a tree that was sticking out of the side of the cliff that he happen to straddle on his way over, but it was too far down for him to climb back up to safety on his own. He was very scared and he cried out for help for several hours. It just so happened that one of the men from the village who was returning from a hunt heard the boyís cry and found him. He reached down and picked him, and immediate the young boy began to cry tears of joy because now he was saved.

 

There are many things in this life that can bring us joy, but to be rescued from pain or death is always something that brings joy to our heart. While the young boy in our story certainly had a reason to be joyful, every Christian has far greater reason to be joyful because we have a Savior, who has rescued us from spiritual death. It should bring joy to our heart knowing that Jesus is our Savior.

 

Why should it bring us joy?

 

It should cause us to rejoice to know that God loved us enough that He was willing to send His only begotten Son to the earth to give us salvation. Jesus willing did this for us even though we did not deserve it:

 

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

 

Think about it, Jesus was willing to leave the beauty and riches of heaven just so we could have the opportunity to be able to make our home in heaven one day. It was quite a sacrifice for Jesus to leave heaven for us, but we know this was only part of the journey that would make it possible for us to have salvation. In addition, He would have to live a sin free life so He could become the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

 

We should be full of joy knowing the Jesus was willing to live a perfect life and to die for us to save us from our sin.

 

Romans 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

 

Paul is telling us that sometimes a person might be willing to die for a righteous person, and I am sure there were some people in the first century that would have had died to protect the apostles. He then says that someone might even dare to die for a good man, which is someone who is just good old boy. However, few in any would be willing to give their life for another person especial if they did not know them. However, Jesus did not hesitate to give His life up for us all. In fact, the writer of Hebrews says that He considered it a joy to do it for us (Heb. 12:1-2).

 

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

He did not find joy in being beaten, mocked, and spit on. He did not find joy in being scourged, in which the flesh on His back was ripped to shreds. He did not find joy in being nailed to the cross to suffer the pain and agony of it all, but He did find joy in knowing that all He was enduring would make it possible for us to be saved from our sins. Knowing that He was playing the crucial part of Godís plan to redeem mankind from their sin gave Him the strength to go through torture for us.

 

Since Jesus loved us enough to leaven His heavenly home to become like one of us and then suffer for us on the cruel cross, it should cause us to rejoice in our hearts and thank our Creator daily for what He has done. No one else would be willing to do what Jesus did for us especially when we did not deserve it.

 

Our Savior did not stop at just dying for us all. No, He showed us that we can conquer death because He was raised from the dead on the third day. Notice how Peter explains Jesus life, death, and resurrection to Corneliusí household:

 

Acts 10:36 "The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ -- He is Lord of all --37 "that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:38 "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.39 "And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.40 "Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,41 "not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.

 

Also notice what Paul says:

 

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.

 

Jesus resurrection is the cornerstone of every Christianís belief because it proves there is life after death and that death cannot keep us in the grave. As Paul explains:

 

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed --52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Knowing that Jesus gives us power over death and that we be given immortal bodies that will be with us for eternity in heaven should cause us to be filled with joy. No other savior can offer as much our Savior Jesus offers us.

 

It should cause us to be joyful knowing that our Savior has made it possible for us to have a home in heaven and that He is preparing a place for us. Jesus said:

 

John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.2 "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.4 "And where I go you know, and the way you know."

 

Every faithful Christian should be confident and joyful knowing that we will have a home in wonderful place called heaven. We will get to spend eternity with God where there is no more pain, sorrow, or physical death. Knowing that eternal bliss is awaiting us, will help us to find joy in our life no matter what tribulation or trial is plaguing us. As Paul said:

 

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

 

Like Jesus, we do not find joy in our trials and tribulations themselves, we find joy by knowing that they bring us closer to God as we lean on Him and draw strength from Him. We can encourage ourselves to push through our difficult times and find joy by thinking about how temporary they are in comparison to eternal bliss in heaven.

 

We should also find great joy in knowing that Jesus knows exactly what kind of help we need to deal with the problems we face because He has lived like us. He knows all our sorrows and griefs (Isa. 53:4).He knows what it feels like to be tempted.

 

Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

 

Since He lived like us, He can sympathize with us and give us the help we need. Again, no other savior can offer that to us other than Jesus. Not does on does Jesus give us strength, He is given us the power of prayer:

 

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

Thanks to our Savior, we can speak to God through prayer, and we can be confident that God is listening to us and answering our prayers. I cannot fully express the joy it gives me to be able to speak to God and to turn my problems over to Him all because Jesus is my Savior. I cannot imagine going through life without having the privilege and honor to call out to God in prayer.

 

We should also find great joy in that God will always be there for us because the Scriptures make it clear that nothing can separate us from His love:

 

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

 

Knowing that we never have to worry about God being there for us should fill our hearts with joy. We can always make God our rock because He has proven Himself to never waiver on His promises.

 

We should be filled with joy knowing that Jesus is our advocate.

 

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

 

An advocate is person that will stand by your side and plead your case. Jesus is pictured as pleading our sin before God so that He will forgive us our sin. Not only did Jesus die on the cross for our sins and gives us the ability to have our past sins forgiven, He continues to provide a way for our new sins to be forgiven. John explains it this way:

 

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Jesus is the Savior that keeps on saving those who want to be saved. Please understand that Jesus will only be advocate to those who want Him to be so. They way we show that we want Jesus to plead our sin to the Father is by walking in the light, which means we will be striving to keep Godís commands. When we do, those sins we confess to our Father will be pleaded by Jesus and they will be for given. Knowing that our Savior is our advocate and makes it possible for us to have cleansed from our sins should cause to be full of joy.

 

Finally, it should brings us great joy that our Savior brought forth a new covenant from God that makes salvation available to all who desires it.

 

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

 

Under the Law of Moses, the children of Israel were Godís select people. The only way a Gentile could become one of God special people was by becoming a proselyte. Under the old covenant people had to go to the temple to worship God. The people did not get to worship together because there were divisions. There was the Court of the Gentiles, which was located outside the temple area. The Gentiles could not past this court. There was the Court of women where all Jews could go, but the women could not go into the Court of Israel, which was only for the Jewish men. Also there was the Holy of Holies where the ark of covenant was. Only the High Priest could enter it once a year on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16; Heb. 9:7).

 

All these divisions between Jew and Gentile, man and woman were broken down with Christ. Now, all can worship together at whatever location they like (Jn. 4:21), and we no longer have to have a high priest atone for our sins every year with the blood of animal sacrifices because Jesus is our high priest now who sacrificed Himself for us.

 

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another --26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

 

In conclusion, we have learned several reasons we should find joy in having a Savior like Jesus. In fact, I cannot think of one reason how anyone could not find joy in having a Savior like Jesus. I am so thankful God exists and that Jesus was willing to die for us and is always there for us. I cannot imagine living life without the joy of God being in it. Paul describes its best what like would be like if Jesus was nothing more than myth:

 

1 Corinthians 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up -- if in fact the dead do not rise.16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

 

Since all Christians know that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead, we can be full of joy and confidence that we do not just have this life to live because eternity in heaven will be ours if we will remain faithful until to death (Rev. 2:10). My hope is the same as Godís hope. I wish that every person in this world would turn to God and live by His Word so they could enjoy the salvation our Savior brings and discover the joy of having a Savior.