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September 17 – The fruit of the Spirit is joy: the joy of justification

But the fruit of the Spirit is…joy. – Galatians 5:22

Scripture reading: Psalm 32; Philippians 4:4

Sadly, too often, Christians lack joy in their life. But the Apostle Paul exhorts us, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). As Christians, joy ought to be a characteristic of our life. Others should know of our joy in the Lord. Jesus said that one of the reasons that He came is so that His joy may be in us and so that our joy may be full (John 15:11).

But what is Christian joy? Joy is not so much happiness or elation that is rooted in temporary pleasures or present circumstances in this world. Rather, Christian joy is rooted in the good news of the Gospel. Paul doesn’t simply say, “Rejoice!” or “Rejoice in your circumstances!” Rather, he says, “Rejoice IN THE LORD.” The Spirit produces the fruit of joy in our lives when we prayerfully meditate on the joy of the complete forgiveness of all of our sins in Christ.

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered…Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity…Be glad IN THE LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:1-2, 11).

Our justification by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone is the ground of our joy in the Lord. Even more, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2). Tomorrow, we’ll consider how the Spirit gives us joy in the hope of glory.

Suggestions for prayer

Rejoice that you are forgiven of all your sins in Christ and are clothed in His righteousness through faith alone as a gift of grace! Sing Psalm 32 if you have a Psalter.

Rev. Brian Cochran has been serving Redeemer Reformation Church in Regina, Saskatchewan since 2010. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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