– AW Pink
Why is it both a privilege and command to rejoice in the Lord? How are a command and a privilege expected of us?
Rejoice I Say, Rejoice
Paul tells the Philippians to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Phil 4:4)! Notice that he repeats that we are to rejoice and if Paul repeats something, like in other places where the Bible repeats something and particularly in the same verse, then it must be of supreme importance. Did your parents repeat things? If so, they too thought it was important enough to say again so how much more so must it be important to God that we ought to rejoice. Isn’t it worth rejoicing over the fact that we’ve been spared from the wrath of God by Him placing His wrath on the Son of God for us? Paul tells this same church again to “rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you” (Phil 3:1). Notice that Paul said he wrote this same thing to them again so we have every reason to “Rejoice always” (1 Thess 5:16)!
Paul tells us exactly why we ought to rejoice. It is because “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance” (Rom 5:2-3). Isn’t that a great reason to rejoice? Through Jesus Christ we who have believed had “obtained access by faith in [the] grace in which we stand!” That is why we not only ought to rejoice but that we should want to rejoice. Our hope is in Him and that’s why we can “rejoice in our sufferings.” That is why AW Pink says that it is our duty or our obligation to rejoice because we have been given what we do not deserve.
The Privilege of Knowing Christ
Paul continues in writing to the church at Philippi that “it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Phil 1:26). Jesus declares that we ought to “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:12). The apostles considered it a privilege to have been flogged for Jesus’ sake because afterwards “they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:41).
Christians should feel compelled, not just obligated, to rejoice in the Lord for all He has done for us. We should count it a privilege and consider it our duty because it is our duty and we are commanded to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Phil 4:4)!