Paul has just written his letter about the comfort of God, proclaiming Christ alone, the judgment seat of Christ, being a new creation, being a cheerful giver, and dealing with a thorn in the flesh. As he closes the letter out, he has an important reminder. In 2 Corinthians 13:11, he says, “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” It is so quick, many miss it. He says, “Finally, brothers, rejoice.”It is a complete sentence. He has dealt with a variety of topics but comes back to rejoicing.
Author J. I. Packer has written, “Even when we cannot see the why and wherefore of God’s dealings, we know that there is love in and behind them, and so we can rejoice always.” We who know and trust God have every reason to rejoice.
In his two letters to the Corinthians, Paul uses the word “rejoice” eleven times. It is an important attribute and concept to him and for believers. We need more of it. He also uses the word “rejoice” some eighteen times in his other letters. The man suffered often, yet focused on rejoicing.
“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.” Philippians 3:1
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Philippians 4:4
“Rejoice always.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16
“But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13
I am not sure if you have heard of John Calvin from the 1500s. He was a theologian who wrote a classic entitled “Institutes” and is attributed to the doctrine known as Calvinism. He was very intelligent and analytical; therefore, perceived as dry, emotionless, impersonal, and cold. No matter how he may have appeared outwardly, I thoroughly appreciate his statement, “There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.”
Pause and smell the roses. Look at the details of nature. See how intricate a blade of grass stands (Yes, watch grass grow). Notice the leaves with their different shapes, sizes, designs, and colors. I love the vibrant colors of flowers as some need full sun while others handle the shade. All of nature speaks of God’s “eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20). The beauty of nature causes many responses and one of them is to rejoice!