Yesterday was a really good day even though it was my 60th birthday. Thanks for the cards and wishes on face book etc. I was thinking about that strange kind of joy we have even when things are not always going so well. Once again I found a gem in Luther’s sermon on Phillipians 4:4-7.
But what does the Gospel promise other than that Christ is given for us; that he bears our sins; that he is our Bishop, Mediator, and Advocate before God, and that thus only through him and his work is God reconciled, are our sins forgiven and our consciences set free and made glad? When this sort of faith in the Gospel really exists in the heart, God is recognized as favorable and pleasing. The heart confidently feels his favor and grace, and only these. It fears not God’s chastisement. It is secure and in good spirit because God has conferred upon it, through Christ, superabundant goodness and grace. Essentially, the fruits of such a faith are love, peace, joy, and songs of thanksgiving and praise. It will enjoy unalloyed and sincere pleasure in God as its supremely beloved and gracious Father, a Father whose attitude toward itself has been wholly paternal, and who, without any merit on its part, has richly poured out upon that heart his goodness…………………………….To rejoice in the Lord–to trust, confide, glory and have pride in the Lord as in a gracious Father–this is a joy which rejects all else but the Lord, including that self-righteousness whereof Jeremiah speaks (ch. 9, 23-24): “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich main glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he hath understanding, and knoweth me.” Again, Paul enjoins (2 Cor 10, 17), “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”