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The Happy God

By: Richard Jordan

1 Timothy 1:11

According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

In this verse Paul says something wonderful and wondrous about the nature and character of God. Genesis 30:13 demonstrates that the word 'blessed' often carries the idea of 'happy', and so it is that Paul is referring here to 'the happy God'!

It seems that most of mankind conceives of God as a great ogre somewhere in the heavens, passing His days by going about watching for those who get just a bit out of line so that He can then crack them over the head with a big thunderbolt of wrath. And religion is no real help in this regard!

Recently my oldest son and I were in the large Museum of Natural History here in Chicago. As we toured the section containing the so-called 'totem poles' we were both struck by the dreadful and frightening appearances of these gods. There was not a happy face in the bunch!

How glad we were to know the God-- 'the true and living God' --of the Bible, who calls Himself  'the happy God!' And this is all the more wonderful as we see it in the context of the gospel of grace.

As God looks at the cross of Calvary He sees it not as the place of our Savior's defeat but rather of His greatest triumph, for there he 'declared His righteousness' as Christ paid the just penalty for our sins (Romans 3:24-26), 'took away' the accusing finger of the law (Colossians 2:14), and openly and thoroughly defeated Satan and his hosts (Colossians 2:15). Thus Paul calls his message 'the glorious gospel of the blessed God!'

All this reminds us that God is 'happy' as He sees the outworking of His purposes and plan. This is true in prophecy as well as 'the mystery.' Consider Zephaniah 3:14-17 in this regard:

Zephaniah 3:14-17

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. [15] The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. [16] In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. [17] The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Thus God has promised that as He sees His long stated purpose for the nation Israel brought to fruition He will 'rejoice' and 'joy' over her-- He will be 'the happy God' in her midst! Little wonder, then, that even after Pentecost we hear Peter still beseeching his wayward nation:

Acts 3:19, 25-26

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; [25] Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. [26] Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

The time was then ripe doe Israel to fulfill her purpose among the nations. Yet, sadly, as we read on in early Acts we see her continuing lack of response. Indeed, her leaders rise up in such open opposition and hostility against the followers of Christ that by Acts 8:1 we are told that there are only twelve believers in the capital city itself!

And as we read we can almost hear the approaching hoof beats of judgment, for the prophets had long predicted the Father's response to the continued rejection of the Son would be wrath and judgment:

Psalm 2:4-5, 9

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. [5] Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. [9] Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

Psalm 110:1

The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

In light of all this, 1 Timothy 1:11 is all the more significant. How is it that Paul can tell us that God is 'the happy God' when His purpose for Israel is yet unfulfilled? It is just here that 'the mystery' comes in, for God had another purpose, a secret purpose which He had kept hidden in Himself only now to be made known through the 'good news' committed to Paul's trust.

Ephesians 3:2-3, 5, 9

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [9] And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Titus 1:2-3

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

[3] But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

Thus today God is 'the happy God' as He sees His 'secret' purpose being fulfilled during the dispensation of Grace. With this in mind it is instructive to consider some of the verses that talk about our 'pleasing' God in this age. Notice a sampling.

We should start with Galatians 1:15-16, where the very manner in which the present program is revealed-- that is, through the ministry committed to the Apostle Paul-- is said to have been pleasing to God:

Galatians 1:15-16

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, [16] To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Thus it is Paul who writes to the Thessalonians and to us:

1 Thessalonians 4:1

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

And it is Paul, again, who sets before us the example of the one who seeks only to 'please Him who have chosen him to be a soldier' (2 Timothy 2:4), saying,

Galatians 1:10

For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

Although 'the preaching of the cross' may seem as mere foolishness to the world about us, to God and the believer it is a heartwarming message and Paul tells us that it is God's sovereign pleasure to save those who believe this wonderful message of grace:

1 Corinthians 1:21

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe

And what of the position and ministry of the believer today? We are told that 'God hath set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased Him' (1 Corinthians 12:18). 1 Corinthians 12 is clear that each member of the Body of Christ has a vital function to fill in the working and well being of the Body as a whole. For more on this see Ephesians 4:11-16, etc.

Further, speaking of resurrection, Paul says:

1 Corinthians 15:37-38, 42

And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: [38] But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. [42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

Thus each member of the Body of Christ is promised a resurrection body 'fashioned like unto His glorious body' (Philippians 3:20-21). Indeed, Christ's coming for us will be a 'blessed hope' both for us and our God! Ephesians 2:7 tells us that it is God's purpose

Ephesians 2:7

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

The happy God-- yes! and surrounded by happy saints, for the more fully we recognize and understand 'His purpose and grace, given us in Christ Jesus before the world began' the more fully we can rejoice in what He is doing today and thus live lives of obedience that honor and please Him.



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