What Is ‘Joy in the Holy Spirit’?

and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – Romans 5:5

The Spirit of God does not work ‘in vacuo’. He glorifies Christ. He works through the propitiation, interpreting, revealing and applying it. If we think of the Spirit as an abstractly supernatural power, a power of God not working through the Gospel and its appeal to the reason, conscience, and will of man, we are not on Christian ground.

Without the Spirit, all that has been said about the meaning of Christ’s death could not prevail over men. If we are speaking of the new moral life of the Christian, and ask what form the experience of His work takes, I should say it is indistinguishable from that infinite assurance of God’s love, given in Christ’s death, through which the Christian is made more than conqueror in all the difficulties of life, inward or external.

It is with this assurance that the Spirit is connected when Paul opens his discussion of the subject in Romans 5:5 (quoted above). With this same assurance he concludes his discussion in Romans 8:35: Who will separate us from the love of Christ? The triumphant certainty of this love, a certainty always recurring to and resting on that miracles of miracles, the sin-bearing death of Christ, is the same thing as joy in the Holy Spirit, and it is this joy which is the Christian’s strength.

From the Spirit, then, or from the love of God as an assured possession, the Christian life may equally be explained. And it is not another, but the same explanation, when we say that it is begotten and sustained from beginning to end by the virtue which dwells in the propitiatory death of Jesus Christ.