Philippians 4:4, Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say: Rejoice!
I have heard pastors and priests proclaim this to crowds of unbelievers. What is wrong with them? Such terrible exegetes! Paul wrote this epistle to the church in Philippi. Churches are full of Christians, not the heathen! Therefore, joy in the Lord is only possible with faith. Where there is no faith, the person can only hate God because he knows he’s guilty and receives no favour from God since he has made himself His enemy. Without faith, these words fall upon deaf ears; the faithless cannot rejoice in God because they hate Him.
What gave Paul cause to write such an exclamation to the Philippian Christians? Perhaps because of what he writes subsequently: that the Lord is at hand, that we need not worry since we can bring our prayers and petitions to God with thanksgiving, and that we have the peace of God which is unfathomable and guards our hearts and consciences in Christ Jesus (vv. 5-7). Certainly these give us cause to rejoice always! “Joy to the world. The Lord has come!” we sing every Christmas. We have a single Mediator in Heaven (1 Timothy 1:5) who makes our requests known to God, so we need not worry! We have peace with God—reconciliation with God the Father! And so our hearts and consciences rest assured that we are right with God in Christ. These things, and many others, are ample causes to rejoice in the Lord always!