“Though you have not seen [Christ], you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8–9).
What is Joy?
Well, I think a good way to answer this question is to contrast joy with happiness. Happiness is conditional, but one may possess joy in any circumstance. Happiness comes and goes, depending on our experiences, our feelings, and a host of other things. Joy, on the other hand, is based on an unchanging reality.
Because the basis for joy does not change, it is not subject to any of the things upon which happiness depends.
But, what is the unchanging, fixed, transcendent basis for joy?
Ah, the answer to this question is a core feature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So many truth statements formulate and are derived from the message of the Gospel. Those truth statements construct an indestructible foundation for joy, which is Christ-centered and not self-centered.
God has justified guilty sinners through the work of Christ. God has adopted unworthy rebels as sons. God has brought spiritual and eternal life to all those in Christ. Union with Christ is an intimate relationship enjoyed by all those who love and trust Him.
These truths and many more form the basis for steadfast Christian joy.
Therefore, we may have joy in every circumstance because Christ has demonstrated God’s love and grace for us. We may rest in that reality now, and we await the fullness of that reality in the glorious new creation.
We who love and trust in Christ may find indestructible joy in union with the God who loves us so and gives Himself freely to us.