One of the disciplines Christians need to learn and practice constantly is joyful resistance.
But this is a virtue that is only possible in and through Jesus. It’s a virtue that rests on the unique doctrine of justification by faith. All other religions and philosophies are attempts to ascend to God, to find God, to become a god, to be good enough to try to merit God’s favor, but ironically this creates a rather simplistic moral ethic. It’s all or nothing, perfect or imperfect. Which creates a necessarily binary vision of life: on or off, right or wrong, happy or sad, black or white, harsh or gentle, gracious or just. It’s all twisted and messed up because at the end of the day unless you’re a full on, screaming dualist, you have to admit that evil is just an illusion and quit your whining. But for some reason it only tends to create more whiners.
But Jesus comes with the full life of the Trinity, and as such, He comes revealing the justice and the mercy of God, His joy and His severity, His humility and power. He embodies and holds all of these together and calls us to follow Him. To believe in Him is to be filled with the power of His life by the Holy Spirit, and that means beginning to express and articulate and practice His way of doing life. Being justified by faith means believing in Jesus as the One who bore your sins and believing that His absolute and invincible righteousness is reckoned to you. Your sins are swallowed up in the sufferings of Jesus forever, and His obedience, perfection, and goodness are yours. This is because when Jesus rose on the third day, God declared Him innocent of all charges. He was justified, vindicated, and this is not only because He was in fact an innocent individual, but it is also because He had actually exhausted the exact penalty due for the sins of the world for all eternity. He suffered in His body exactly what God demanded as justice for every evil deed you have done or has been done to you.
So a Christian is a sinner who has been given a completely clean slate and the exact status of Jesus, God’s well-beloved Son. This is the joy part. A Christian is someone who can’t stop grinning about the justice of God in Christ. It’s ridiculous and extravagant and yet it’s true. And it’s with this giddy gladness that Jesus sends His forgiven saints into the world to fight sin and evil and every injustice. In fact, part of the war He sends them to wage is inside of their own body. They have been judicially delivered from the lusts inside their bodies, and the verdict of the resurrection is true. But nevertheless, Christians work out that salvation with fear and trembling, trusting God to work into them the grace and goodness He has already reckoned to them.
So this makes a Christian someone who is simultaneously fierce and glad. This is why we repent of our own sins firmly and joyfully. This is why we confront the sins of our children and friends with humility and grace. This is why we stand up in board rooms and company meetings and cheerfully refuse to go along with folly and injustice. This is how we share the gospel with unbelievers, atheists, and agnostics. We proclaim the truth in love; we defy their folly with joy. And we practice this in our hearts every day by believing the gospel, repenting of sin, and running for the prize in Christ Jesus.