Monday, February 12, 2007

Substitutes for Joy

There are three parties described in Luke 15. They were the result of finding a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. In each case, there was great rejoicing. These were parables taught by Jesus so that we would understand that there is great rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents. If it is possible to increase the joy in Heaven, this is it. The salvation of sinners is why Jesus came to this earth. It is why the whole Bible was written. This salvation includes being like Jesus. The culmination of all of this purpose and accomplishment is the singing that takes place in Revelation 5. It is one big party.

Like in all true, wonderful things, there are distortions, copies that are unlike the real. In the parables the rejoicing took place before the party. The party was held in order to have others join in the rejoicing that already was.

The world creates parties in order to rejoice. They are not the result of rejoicing; they try to be a cause of rejoicing, like the parties the Prodigal Son threw in the far country. The real rejoicing took place when he came home.

The world is trying to have one party after another. Entertainment, music, sports (participating or spectator), movies, plays, novels, pornography are no longer avocations. They have become substitutes for the real. The worldly man does not have joy in living, so he seeks a vicarious joy. He becomes addicted to something that only requires more of the same.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

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