Fulness of Joy.

"Fulness of joy," . . . Can this indeed be experienced by God's dear children whilst journeying through this sad world? No doubt many earnest Christians will exclaim. "Oh no; when we reach heaven, then indeed we shall be perfectly happy; but never here, surrounded as we are with disappointment and failure." But let us examine for a few moments some of the many Scriptures which speak of this subject. First, what does the Lord Jesus say to his beloved disciples when He was on the point of leaving them, and they were filled with sorrow at the thought of losing their dear Master? "These things have I spoken unto you that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full (John 15:11). Also, in His wonderful prayer to the Father, speaking of His disciples, He says, "These things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves" (John 17:13). In the Acts of the Apostles we read of the disciples rejoicing and being filled with joy, even when, they were persecuted, and driven from one place to another. In the Epistles very many verses speak of the joy which filled the hearts of the Christians in those early days: I quote but a few of them. "We also joy in God." "Joy in the Holy Ghost." "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing." "The abundance of their joy." "Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, rejoice." "Rejoice with joy unspeakable." "These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."

But why is it that so few, so very few of the Lords saints ever realise, or indeed seem to know anything of this fulness of joy so freely given us of God? We read in Psalm 16, "in Thy presence is fulness of joy." The Lord Jesus, replying to Judas' question, said: "If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." The only way then for a Christian to experience this wonderful joy is to keep the words of the Lord Jesus, and thus abide in the presence of the Father and the Son. But this means denying oneself, taking up one's cross daily, and following Him. It means fighting the good fight of faith and laying hold on eternal life. How many of us are prepared to do this, cost what it may? When Moses spent forty days on the mount in God's immediate presence, he wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. When Stephen stood before the Council, full of the Holy Ghost, all its members, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel. It may be said, "Oh, but those were exceptional cases;" true, yet is it not written, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18). Did believers but grasp by faith, and take in what is the marvellous position into which God has brought them, having chosen them before the foundation of the world, predestinated them unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, and made them accepted in the Beloved, in Whom they have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, that they should be to the praise of His glory; that they are now sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of their inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession . . . I say, did they really believe and take to their hearts these wonderful truths, they could not be cast down by the troubles and cares of this life, but would be filled with continual joy.

The great enemy then which hinders them from enjoying the position in which God in His wondrous grace has placed them is just unbelief, instead of boldly taking God's Word as it stands. He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? . . . Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things which are freely given us of God. We know that the Lord Jesus, that blessed Man in the glory, is the delight of the Father's heart; and, oh wonderful thought, He desires to share now His joy in Him with His children. What do we not lose by being so much occupied by earthly things? No wonder our hearts are so often sad and downcast, when they might be filled with joy. The great secret, the only way of obtaining this joy, is to abide in Him. "He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." "These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." Beloved Brethren, the time is short, and now indeed our salvation is nearer than when we believed. Let us then so walk. during the little while remaining, so as to enjoy to the full that love so richly bestowed upon us, and to rejoice in that blessed Man in the glory, to the praise and glory of our God and Father.
G. F. Barlee.