Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joy to the World

"The door of repentance opens into the hall of joy."
-Charles Spurgeon

Psalm 32:5
"Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD'—and you forgave the guilt of my sin."

By now you've probably discovered that even a room full of shiny new Christmas gifts won't bring lasting joy. Once the newness of the gift wears off, the happiness starts to fade. Presents get lost, toys get broken, and dreams of long-lived happiness begin to evaporate. The truth is, nothing in this earthly life offers unending joy.

Last night I had a truly terrifying dream. In it I had committed a murder and I was desperately trying to cover up my crime. A crushing burden of guilt weighed heavily upon me. When I finally awakened to learn it was only a dream, the flood of relief I felt was difficult to describe. I was no longer guilty of my sin; I was free from its oppressive weight. What joy filled my soul!

Like waking up from my dream, there is a way—but only one way—to be rid of quilt from sin and experience everlasting joy. We must walk through the door of repentance. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." All sin, all unrighteousness—past, present, and future—is washed away by the blood of Christ when we confess our sins and receive his cleansing salvation. Our souls are forever freed from the crushing weight of guilt, thanks to the loving sacrifice of our Savior.

If you listen to "Joy to the World," the popular Christmas hymn by Isaac Watts, you will hear a command for every heart to prepare Him room, and for every creature to tell of His joy. What a wonderful calling. I hope and pray that the joy of the Lord will resound in every family and every person.

How will you respond to this joy this Christmas? If you've walked through the door or repentance, then you've awakened into the hall of joy described by Charles Spurgeon. This is the message of the Gospel that we celebrate at Christmas—God's pronouncement of everlasting joy to the world!

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