Philippians 4:4—How can we rejoice always when Jesus said “blessed are those who mourn”?

Problem: Paul commands us here to “Rejoice in the Lord always,” but Jesus insisted that “Blessed are those who mourn” (Matt. 5:4).

Solution: Properly understood, these are not mutually exclusive. Mourning is the condition and rejoicing is the result of a proper relation to God. It is those who humble themselves whom God lifts up (cf. James 4:10). So it is those who mourn in their spirit who will be able to rejoice in their Lord. True sorrow for sin is the antecedent of the consequent joy of salvation.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.