Whether it is the classic hymn by Henry Van Dyke “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” based on Beethoven’s 9th Symphony or J. Edward Ruark’s Gospel song “You May Have the Joy-Bells”, there are a lot of songs and hymns based on joy.
The simple Scripture chorus “Rejoice in the Lord Always” based on Philippians 4:4 gives a brief and easy way to remember to sing about the joy that God has given us. Today we will use joy for our “J” in alphabetizing grace.
The Joy of Being Saved
In the Greek New Testament, from which our English one is translated, the word “joy” is a derivative of the word “grace”. If there were a family tree of vocabulary words then “Grace” is the mother of “Joy”. Grace has other beautiful children we will meet along the way as well.
It is not just linguistically, however, that grace and joy are connected. It is the very essence of the truth of grace that we should be filled with joy because of it. John Newton wrote, “I once was lost but now I’m found.” What profound joy to be found after being lost! What ecstasy in being safe!
Imagine being lost in the mountains, or on the vast ocean or in a dark forest for days. Hope is all gone. Then out of seemingly nowhere a rescuer finds you and returns you to hearth and home. Joy! We are lost in sin and our rescuer is Christ. What absolute joy to be found!
Now, what would you do for that person who rescued you? Would you walk away from them with indifference? Would you send them a thank you by email? Would you hug them and remember their name forever? If they were ever to ask for your help with a real simple task, would you give it?
It would be your joy, your great joy, to put their picture on your mantle. It would be your joy, your great joy, to go to the reception given in their honor. It would by your joy, your great joy, to help them if you could. Joy, like her mother Grace, becomes an action, not just a sentiment.
Oswald Smith expresses this joy in his wonderful hymn “There is Joy in Serving Jesus”. He uses such rich phrases as “Joy that throbs within my heart”, “Joy that triumphs over pain”, “Joy that never will depart”. This is the joy of grace. This is joyous grace.