Q&A: Mourning and Rejoicing

Mourning and Rejoicing

Question

If we are blessed for mourning, then how can we rejoice evermore? Matthew 5:4 and Philippians 4:4.

Answer

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, or they will be comforted.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

The context of Matthew 5:4 indicates the ability to truly mourn over sin and evil to the glory of God. This is the result of true conviction of the Holy Spirit (Ps. 32:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; cf. Luke 15:18) which is a blessing (compare to the "woe" of Luke 6:25). As Paul says, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death" (2 Cor. 7:10). It is cause to rejoice evermore (1 Thess. 5:16). As Isaiah says, "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified" (Isa. 61:2-3, KJV; cf. Rev. 7:17).

God's kingdom has been inaugurated in Christ. It continues through his Church, and it will consummate in the Second Coming when "he will wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away... " (Rev. 21:4). So, there is a present and eschatological rejoicing, as he who began a good work in us will complete it (Phil. 1:6). This type of present and future comfort is reason to rejoice evermore (Phil. 3:1; 4:4; Rev. 19:1-10).

So, viewed biblically, these two realities may complement one another.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).