For as long as I can remember, I thought being obedient to God and seeking to find happiness and joy were two different roads. I knew that God loved me and sent Jesus to die for me, but that was just to pay for my sin, right? I thought that the cross of Christ was mainly about a legal transaction.
Now it must be said that we are in fact justified by faith alone for the glory of God alone. Jesus’ death on the cross was the literal payment for our sin. He absorbed all of God’s wrath that I deserved because of my trespasses, and by trusting in Jesus’ work on the cross, God declares me righteous -not according to my righteousness, but according to the righteousness of Jesus that is now mine through the gospel (is this a run-on sentence? Nah). Romans 8:1 promises that for those in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation. This is great news!
But is this the point?
I’m not trying to question the gift of God’s Son, I just have to know what the intent of God’s gift is. I feel like there are way too many people who think, act, and relate to God like I used to (and still at times slip into). We think, act, and live like the main reason Jesus died is so that we don’t have to go to hell. But if this is the main reason, what do you do with all the other verses in the Bible?
- “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
- “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
- All Scripture is God’s Word, but this next promise comes straight from the mouth of Jesus, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
The Devil would have us believe that happiness is found outside of God, but God is like a bottomless ocean of joy. Happiness is only found in God. Satan tempts us. He offers us sin which disguises itself to be true happiness, and after we partake in it we wonder why we aren’t satisfied. It’s like we are chasing a shadow but never finding the substance that casts the shadow. You see, Satan doesn’t have the market on joy, God does. God offers us eternal pleasure in his presence. The brilliant C.S. Lewis says it better than I ever could, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Can you see it? Jesus didn’t die on the cross for you and I to just have a “get out of hell free card.” Jesus death rescues us from the pits of hell so that we could access and enjoy the glory of God. He died to justify us, in order to adopt us (1 John 3:1). By the grace of God I’m beginning to see that Lord’s path of life, and the path to happiness and joy are same path. Jesus died to bring us to God in order that we might enjoy a life spent worshipping, treasuring, and cherishing him. Do you see it? Jesus is the fountain from which all joy flows. The point of his life, death, and resurrection, is to give us full access to the fountain of joy himself. I plead with you. Quit trying to quench your thirst from the broken cisterns of this world, and start drinking from the eternal fountain himself. This is where true happiness is found. This is where God’s glory is displayed. This is the main intent of the Bible.