Today’s Daily Light
That Your Joy May Be Full (5 part article)
A THEOLOGY OF HAPPINESS (by Scott Swain President, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando)
God’s Happiness by His Spirit
The mercy of the blessed Trinity toward miserable sinners reaches its goal in “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 13:14). As the loving purpose of God the Father is fulfilled in the self-giving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, so the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled the purpose of God the Father, abounds in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit through the agencies of the word (Ephesians 3:1–13), the sacraments (1 Corinthians 10:16; Ephesians 4:5), and prayer (Ephesians 3:14–21). Having communicated to us the free gift of justification, the Spirit awakens us to the new order of beatitude inaugurated through Jesus’s death and resurrection and assures us of our eternal inheritance in God: “But when the goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4–7).
The Spirit enables us to possess and perceive the mercy purposed by the Father and purchased by the Son. The Spirit, who searches the depths of divine beatitude (1 Corinthians 2:10–11), shows the depths of God’s mercy to us and bestows the depths of God’s mercy upon us: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). The mercy purposed by the Father and purchased by the Son is, furthermore, a mercy ordered to “fellowship,” the mutual possession and sharing of goods with God and neighbor. The Spirit enables us to see and receive the goods of heaven and earth, of this age and the age to come, as they really are: as gifts that radiate outward from the throne of the blessed and triune God. The Spirit then enables us to return these goods in sacrifices of praise, honor, and thanksgiving to the triune God (Galatians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Hebrews 13:15; Revelation 4–5) and to share these goods, both spiritual and physical, with our neighbors (Romans 12:3–8; Hebrews 13:16; 1 Peter 4:10–11).
God’s Own Happiness in His People
By the Spirit, God pours his love into our hearts and awakens in our hearts the love of God and neighbor (Romans 5:5; 1 John 4:10, 12–13, 19). The love poured into our hearts by the Spirit trains us rightly to affirm the being and well-being of God and of all things in relation to God, and it trains us rightly to exchange the goods of heaven and earth in fellowship with God and all things in relation to God. Such love is the bond of perfection in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (Colossians 3:14), the good that surpasses all others in the order of beatitude (1 Corinthians 13:13).
And so, by the mercy of God, the blessed Trinity makes miserable sinners blessed in him. Flowing from the Father’s love in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, by his humiliation and exaltation, causes his joy to dwell in us and thereby makes our joy full (John 15:11). The Father, who rests in his Son by the Spirit, and the Son, who by the Spirit rejoices in his Father, by the same Spirit come to rest in us, causing us to rejoice in them (John 14:23).
(end of article) (what a feast 😇)