‘Joy and peace in believing.’ Romans 15:13
Suggested Further Reading: Ezekiel 13:1–16
You must take care, while valuing joy and peace, that you do not overestimate them; for, remember that joy and peace are, though eminently desirable, not infallible evidences of safety. There are many persons who have great joy and much peace who are not saved, for their joy springs from a mistake, and their peace is the false peace which does not rest upon the rock of divine truth but upon the sand of their own imaginations. It is certainly a good sign that the spring is come, that you find the weather to be so warm, but there are very mild days in winter. I must not therefore infer because the heat of the sun is at such and such a degree, that therefore it is necessarily spring. And, on the other hand, we have had very cold days this week—cold days which, if we had to judge by such evidences, might have indicated to us that we were rather in November than in May. And so, joy and peace are like fine sunny days. They come to those that have no faith, that are in the winter of their unbelief, and they may not visit you who have believed; or, if they come, they may not abide, for there may be cold weather in May, and there may be some sorrow and some distress even to a truly believing soul. Understand, that you must not look upon the possession of joy and peace as being the absolutely necessary consequence of your being saved. A man may be in the lifeboat, but that lifeboat may be so tossed about that he may still feel himself exceedingly ill, and think himself to be still in peril. It is not his sense of safety that makes him safe; he is safe because he is in the lifeboat, whether he is sensible of this or not.
For meditation: Luke 16:25; the Christian may have a tough time in this life, but the best is yet to come (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Hebrews 12:11; 1 Peter 5:10). The unbeliever may have a good time in this life, but the worst is yet to come (Psalm 73:3–5,17–20).
Sermon no. 692
20 May (1866)