It is truly saddening to know that there are so many people bowed down in sorrow and dismay. This sadness is not just found in those in the world, but also it is found amongst members of the body of Christ. While I am not trying to diminish anyone’s situation in life, Christians should be, of all people, the happiest that live. Now, please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that Christians should never cry or be sad (Acts 8:2). After all, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). However, our sadness and grief should never overshadow our reasons to rejoice! The apostle Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Phil. 4:4). Let us do a deeper study and see exactly why we should rejoice.
Nearly two-thousand years ago, Jesus sent forth seventy of His disciples into different cities and places. These seventy would precede the arrival of Jesus (Luke 10:1). While present in those locations, the seventy were able to perform miraculous deeds. No doubt, these miracles were used as a way to verify the message and authenticity of Christ before He physically arrived. When the disciples returned to the Lord, they were extremely happy and eager to report to Jesus. “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name” (Luke 10:17). I can only imagine how they must have felt. To be able to have such power is truly amazing. It was then that Jesus used their enthusiasm and joy to teach them why they should really rejoice. “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:18-20). It is here that we find why we should rejoice.
Today, Christians are the ones whose names are written in Heaven (Acts 11:26; cf. 2:47). Please take note to some very poignant verses in this regard. Under the Old Law of Moses, it is recorded, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book” (Exo. 32:33). Even back then, faithful people of God were in God’s book, but unfaithful people were removed. The Psalmist echoed this idea when he wrote, “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous” (Psm 69:28). However, it is the New Testament that is the law under which people live today (Col. 2:14). There are also verses included in the Law of Christ that give us reason to rejoice. The church in Sardis was told, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Rev. 3:5). Likewise, John recorded what it will be like when the church is able to be in Heaven. “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:22-27). Yes, my friend, the church of Christ has great reason to rejoice!
With all of that being stated, there are some who cannot truly rejoice. It is clearly stated throughout Scripture that not all will be saved (Matt. 7:13-14). It is with that knowledge that we must accept the realization of what that means. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:12-15). If your name is not in the book of life, then I encourage you to obey the Gospel before it is too late (Rom. 10:17; John 8:24; Acts 17:30-31; Matt. 10:32-33; Acts 2:38; Rev. 2:10). Only then will you have the ability to “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Phil. 4:4).