The gospel is…the word about Jesus Christ and what he did for us in order to restore us to a right relationship with God. – Graeme Goldsworthy

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Gospel, Suffering, and (Greater) Joy

When I read this to my wife last night before we fell asleep, we both could not help being grabbed by the triumph and brilliance of its truth. Read it slowly. Devotionally. And let this certainty bring you comfort: our suffering only exponentially increases our joy – now and forever – in the God of our redemption.

God permits Satan to rule in order to glorify His name in the recovery of His elect children, snatching them from the grasp of this ruling demon. When this war is finished, how glorious will be the name of God! He came into the battle when this enemy claimed every man, body and mind and heart. Not a one of all the offspring of Adam offered to volunteer in the service of God. Then, as He willed, God made certain chosen ones willing in the day of His power (Ps. 110:3). In the end every creature shall magnify the name of God: for His workmanship in creating Heaven and the earth; for His providence in preserving His elect; for His power in giving the saints new life, the new heart, and the faith to become sons of God through Christ. And this new creation, this new babe of grace, is then enabled to beat the Devil out of the field and cause him to flee (James 4:7). By introducing Adam to sin, Satan was able to drive him out of Paradise. But God’s children will drive the Devil out of this world into the Lake of Fire. And all works and events will empty themselves into one great swelling redemption. If God had not permitted Satan to take His elect ones prisoners (Eph. 2.1), they would not have been able to enter Heaven with such acclamations of triumph. There are three expressions of great joy on the Scripture: the joy of a woman after she travails; the joy of harvest; and the joy of one that divides the spoil. These exultations come with sadness: the pain and tears of the travailing woman; the fear of failure of the farmer; the perils and wounds of the soldier. But at the last they are paid for all, the remembrance of their past sorrows feeding their presents joys. If Christ had come and entered into affinity with our nature, and had returned peaceably with us to Heaven, finding no resistance, what then? It would have been an admirable love; it would have afforded the joy of marriage. But how much more joyful is the nuptial song we sing because He came as a conqueror, who rescued His bride from the vicious rulership of Satan, snatching them from the very chambers of hell, as he led captivity captive and gave gifts to men (Eph. 4:8). – William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armor in The Fifty Greatest Christian Classics, Vol. 2 (48), emphasis mine

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