God Is Happy: What It Means for Our Joy

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Have you recently stood amazed at how happy God is?

God isn't frivolous, shallow, flippant, lacking in seriousness nor weightiness. He is almighty and fearful. Let’s be clear on that.

But God is happy.

Even hearing so may seem a tad strange. But recently I found encouragement in this truth: God is happy, at this moment, with himself, with all he’s doing, with his world.

“The Blessed God”

There is a Bible verse that says so. When Paul piles up adjectives to explain the gospel, he describes it as “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (1 Timothy 1:11). This is the same word that occurs in Jesus’s Beatitudes. We translate this Greek word, makarios, as “blessed.” This is a traditional translation of the word—not bad, just traditional. But the word essentially means “happy.”

So, there it is in the Bible. The good news of Jesus Christ is the good news of the happy God. He’s happy in his salvation. He delights in his Son. He exults in the gospel.

He Really Is Happy

Yet this was not what amazed me recently. What impressed me was God’s consistent, joyful, contentment with everything—including the gospel.

G.K Chesterton has a deservedly famous quote about God's happiness. He wrote, 

“It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them” (Orthodoxy, 60).

Reading this, the image hits us afresh: God is huge, big, and powerful, yes, and he's also truly happy. He's joyfully sovereign, reigning, and ruling, and at the same time he’s also joyfully creating, inspiring, and repeating. He’s doing it all with an attractive, stunning joy. Or to say it plainly, he really is happy. We should imagine him as being happy—truly joyful—because he is.

What About Sin?

But sin exists, and sin is horrible. Does that diminish God's happiness? We can reflect on the curse to see the cosmic affect caused by sin. We can consider hell to see the tragic consequences of sin. Better yet, we can look at the bloody Jesus on the cross to see how terribly serious sin is. Is he still happy in the midst of all this?

Yes. There isn’t a hint in the Bible that sin—as dreadful as it is—disrupts the eternal happiness of God. It didn’t throw a curveball into his joy. It does not mean that he turns a blind eye to sin—this is why right away in this post we stated that God is not frivolous, shallow, or flippant. He is still happy.

The Gospel Increases His Joy

In fact, because of the gospel, sin increases God’s joy (speaking loosely, of course, since his infinite joy cannot be ‘increased’) Sin—because it is taken up into God’s good, grand, glad purposes in Christ—furthers God’s joy (again speaking loosely, since something everlasting cannot be ‘furthered'). The gospel of Christ displays the glory of his grace (Ephesians 1:6), and he certainly delights in grace.

But the point is there is a way for God to be forever happy in who he is, what he’s doing—as joyful as he was before this world existed—and for him to take seriously sin, salvation, and the gospel. The gospel is the gospel of the blessed God (1 Timothy 1:11), and he has always been in heaven doing whatever brings him pleasure (Psalm 135:6). Both are true. He’s always been happy. He always will be happy.

Participating in Joy

But why does all this matter? The greatest reason for considering God's happiness is not mere contemplation. It isn't only so we know more about him. It's more personal. The thrill is how we believers get to enter into this happiness.

Through the gospel, we are forgiven and reconciled to him. And so, we’ll forever be happy because the gospel—knowing Christ and his grace. But in the Bible we’re also led to believe that this reconciliation to God, this “partaking in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), includes participating in God's happiness. We get to enter in. We get to join Joy himself.

Glorifying God by Entering Into His Joy

“The chief end of man is to enjoy God and glorify him forever,” said the Westminster Divines. John Piper wonderfully has clarified that our purpose is “to glorify God by enjoying him forever.” This is a truth to treasure.

But what dawns on us is that our chief end of glorifying and enjoying God happens by entering into his joy forever. The happiness of God becomes ours.

We get to taste this Joy here and now—what a privilege. But also what a day it'll be when we finally “enter into the joy of your Master” (Matthew 25:21).