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It is time to dust off an old theological doctrine about the glory of God—divine impassibility. Impassibility is the notion that God’s passions or emotions cannot be negatively affected by anything outside of Himself. Some theologians have assumed that this means God is static and cannot feel, but it does not. It means that God’s infinite blessedness cannot be diminished in the least by the sadness of our world. 

Though God does grieve sin and death, this grief itself does not diminish His eternal joy. We all have some knowledge of this experience when we weep over something sad, like the death of a loved one, but also experience joy at the thought of that person running free into the arms of Christ. For God, that joy is infinite and perfect, and it never wanes.

When we experience joy, we are really experiencing the heart of God. He has unending, unperturbed joy, and when we are near Him, that joy flows into our hearts with rivers of grace. This is what will make heaven so glorious—God. We will be as near to Him as possible, which means we will have unfettered access to His eternal joy.

This beautiful doctrine also brings us great comfort in this life. When life hurls its sharp pangs our way, we can rest assured that God’s blessedness is not blunted though ours may be. Though God does sympathize with our sadness and our suffering, He does not lose hope. He does not even lose joy. That is your ballast in the storm. There is a storehouse of impassible divine joy that no evil can diminish. It waits for you when you die, and it calls to you now as a down payment of your inheritance. Its name is Jesus.


Thanks for this reflection, Rob.  These are wise and helpful words, and they are particularly helpful because they are rooted in spiritual realities, not psychological appeals.  May God bless your ministry.

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