Verse four of “Joy to the World” completes the biblical worldview contained in this Christmas hymn. This last verse is a dynamic testimony to the power of the gospel. The King who was anticipated in the first verse, celebrated for his rule in the second verse, and viewed as the Savior of this sin-cursed world in third, now is proclaimed as the One who will bring a just judgment to this broken world. Are you discouraged by the corruption in the world? You need not despair at the apparent inequities of life! What a wonderful peace flows from the reality that King Jesus rules with truth and grace. The awesome might of God is proclaimed. He will make the nations affirm that his righteousness is glorious beyond description. Here is how Watts puts it:
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love…
Christ’s rule is one of wonder. This magnificent hymn intertwines God’s judgment and his love. Without God’s love there would only be fear of judgment, and without God’s judgment there would be no meaning to his love. Watts’ words show the beauty of Psalm 98. The psalmist proclaims that the reason for joy is that the King, Jesus Christ, will judge the world with righteousness and that each of us will be treated with equity.