Real Happiness in a World of Sorrow

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By John Piper About Joy

Audio Transcript

According to his great mercy — sounds like Ephesians 2:4–5 — he has caused us to be born again — sounds like Ephesians 2:4–5 again — to a living a hope — a living hope, the kind we just saw in Isaiah — through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to an inheritance — oh, it’s good. It’s so good. It’s imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded — you’re being kept for it and it’s being kept for you (1 Peter 1:3–5).

I love this text because I’m so prone to wander. I know there’s nothing changing in heaven, good night. There’s no moth or rust or thieves breaking in there to rob my inheritance (Matthew 6:20). “But I might not get there!” Oh, yes you will, Christian. Because you’re being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you, rejoice (1 Peter 1:5–6) — yes I do. Yes I do!

Though now, for a little while (1 Peter 1:6) — that means a lifetime. It really does. Same with Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:17–18: “This light momentary affliction.” Only a lifetime compared to eternity. He’s working for us an eternal weight of glory. So, you’ve got a little, teeny life and then an incalculable eternity. Oh, how we need this — we Western, comfortable, assume-that-all-should-be-well-now Americans. Well, don’t count on it, now.

So, though now for a little while if necessary — and God decides how much is necessary for you — you are being grieved (1 Peter 1:6) — yes you are. Now, while you’re happy — do you see that? Don’t miss this — this is absolutely crucial. So, “in this you rejoice” (1 Peter 1:6a), right now. “You are being grieved” (1 Peter 1:6b), right now.

I am so thankful this is in the Bible. I mean, it is really dangerous to read your experience into the Bible. I know that’s dangerous, hugely dangerous. This is my experience: you decide whether I’m reading it in or not. I think I’m reading it out and taking heart.

That God knows me, he comes to us in this fallen world of futility, and pain, and death, and sorrow, and moral collapse of a nation, and slaughter all over the world, and 700 people being trampled to death in Saudi Arabia, and babies being killed by the millions, and our Congress can’t even vote to save the later ones that can live — what a sad world. It’s a sad world! How can you live in this world and not be sad? You’re sick if you’re not sad, aren’t you?

And you should be the happiest people in the world. And that is not a contradiction.

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