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“Then the angels said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11.
During the Christmas season much is written about this great joy that was proclaimed to the shepherds in the field. However, this great joy includes infinitely more than what is usually written and spoken about. Usually people only write about Jesus’ birth and that He came to forgive us our sins.
A much greater work
However, Jesus came to do a much greater work. He came to destroy the works of the devil in our lives. (1 John 3:8) Everyone who commits sin is a slave of the devil, but Jesus came to set us free, so that we are free indeed from all conscious sin. (John 8:34-36) He made possible what was impossible in the old covenant. (Romans 8:3) Because of the glorious work that took place in Christ, that sin in the flesh was condemned to death, we are no longer debtors to the flesh to live according to its lusts. (Romans 8:12) Now Jesus’ glorious life can be manifested in us daily if we follow His example. (2 Corinthians 4:10)
By faith in Jesus we are born again to be a new creation with a new, redeemed mind and a pure heart that, out of joy and thankfulness, can live according to new, glorious laws that are being written within. (Hebrews 10:16) These are the same laws that Jesus received from His Heavenly Father and that contain all God’s fullness of wisdom and glory.
The “great joy” is that we can be transformed into Jesus image, from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18) We can be transformed from having a carnal mind to receiving the mind of Christ that is filled with love and goodness. Before, our mind was one with our sinful and impure nature; now our mind is one with the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4)
Eternal, unshakeable joy
Sin (for example, unrighteousness, lying, envy, jealousy, anger, strife, fornication, etc.) does not produce true joy. However, there is an eternal, unshakable joy in being redeemed from all these sins and by walking in the new life in the virtues of Christ. It is Jesus’ wish that we experience this great joy. This joy is firmly anchored in the blessed hope that is within the veil in heaven itself. It is not the result of fluctuations in our external circumstances, but it is rooted and grounded in the invisible—in our love for Jesus Christ.
Just as the angel was a messenger of joy to the shepherds in the field, so we shall be messengers of joy in our days concerning everything that we can obtain by faith in the new covenant. Among other things, it is possible to be a member of the body of Christ in perfect oneness with the Father, the Son, and with each other as we walk in the light. If we have entered into this oneness and have tasted genuine, unfailing brotherly love, we can also with great joy invite others to it. Then we can truly invite them to something. There is hope for all sinners, if only they will repent and hate everything that has to do with sin. We have been promised all grace and strength in the battle against sin.
Jesus is born in my heart by faith
The good tidings are that we can be perfectly set free from the slavery of sin, and that we can serve God in liberty and with joy and thankfulness in sincere fellowship with the host of saints who are being cleansed and purified and made ready for Jesus’ imminent return!
It is a great joy that Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem, but it is a far greater joy that I can say that He was born in my heart by faith, and that He dwells in it and rules my life by His good Spirit! Then I will always have a feast and can sing: “Hear how the storms are raging; within it is peaceful and still.”
This is an adapted version of an article that was first published in BCC’s periodical “Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden treasures”) in December 1967.
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