The Christian Made Glad
William Nicholson, 1862
"For you, Lord, have made me glad through your work. I will triumph in the works of your hands." Psalm 92:4
"The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein."
God's creation, though blighted by sin, in the spring season, is productive of much joy. But how glad and triumphant is the regenerate soul, by realizing the "work of God's hand," by which he has been created anew in Christ Jesus! If we are delighted with this sinful world — then there is more cause to be delighted with the work of Christ for the soul, by which it receives a title and a fitness for that glorious paradise wherein dwell righteousness and immortality. What are we to think of the palace — since even the prison is not without its charms!
I. An Interesting Subject:"Your work."
All that is visible to us in God's creation, and that is invisible throughout his infinite domain — is the work of Jehovah's hand. He made all, he governs all. But more particularly,
1. It is the work of God to redeem the soul. Sin has enslaved it, placed it under condemnation, and exposed it to the inflictions of Divine Justice. Sin is an infinite evil, and requires the interposition of an infinite Redeemer. Hence John 3:16; Psalm 89:19; Romans 8:3; 5:6-8. This was a work of stupendous grace — of rich and unparalleled love!
2. It is God's work to regenerate the soul. Sin has defiled it, crushed it, ruined it. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick!" Jeremiah 17:9. But God . . .
quickens it, Ephesians 2:1;
deadens it to sin,
fills it with holy desire,
and makes all things new, 2 Corinthians 5:17.
All of this is peculiarly the work of God, John 1:13; 1 Peter 1:23.
3. It is God's work to receive the soul to favors and privileges lost by sin. See this strikingly stated in Ephesians 2:11-13, 19-22. He receives them by adoption into his family — to communion with himself, and to all the ordinances of his house. What condescension is this!
4. It is the work of God to comfort the soul. Isaiah 40:1,2; 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4. He comforts them with his word — he makes them glad with his promises. Psalm 119:50; Romans 15:4. He comforts by his Spirit. Acts 9:31.
5. It is the work of God to protect and save his people to the end. "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you!" Hebrews 13:5. "To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy!" Jude 1:24.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39
6. It is the work of God to glorify the soul. He will raise both body and soul to Heaven, and forever glorify them there! John 14:2, 3; 17:24.
II. An Interesting Statement:"You have made me glad through your work."
This gladness is the delight and satisfaction of the soul, arising from union with God in Christ, as the greatest and highest good, with an actual rejoicing in hope of the glory of God.
This language exhibits an amazing change. Formerly, sin produced sadness, a fearful looking for of judgment; but now he is "glad." His sorrow is turned into joy. The black cloud of despair is rolled away — and the Sun of Righteousness has risen upon him with healing and life-giving power.
1. This gladness is Divine. "You have made me glad." Nothing in this world can really gladden. Earthly joys are transitory. The only true source of substantial joy is God. This joy is created by you. "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD!" Psalm 40:2-3
2. It is the gladness of experience. Gladness arising from experiencing God's quickening, saving, sanctifying, and comforting power.
You have gladdened my soul by opening my eyes — by exciting me to cry for mercy. You made me glad at the cross, where I received pardon for my every crime, and justification from all condemnation.
I am a new creature in Christ.
I am adopted into God's family.
I have a good hope through grace.
I am more glad than a ransomed captive, a discharged debtor, or a reprieved criminal! "You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound." Psalm 4:7
3. It is social joy. You have made me glad with your church. I tell to my brethren what you have done for my soul, and they are "sharers in, or partakers of my joy." Malachi 3:16.
4. It is the gladness of faith and hope. Christians have peace and joy through believing. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for," etc. They are glad when their faith assures them that in Heaven they have a more enduring substance, etc. Hope constantly anticipates it, expects it, etc. Romans 15:4; Hebrews 6:16-19; Titus 1:2; 2:13.
III. A Judicious Resolution."I will triumph in the works of your hands."
To triumph means to rejoice and shout on account of victory over enemies. God triumphs over his enemies. Exodus 15:1, 21. So Christ, Colossians 2:15. So believers always triumph in Christ amidst weakness, sinfulness, and trouble. 2 Corinthians 2:14; Psalm 106:47.
To triumph implies,
1. Grateful acknowledgment of Divine obligation. The "works of his hands," in all their diversified and gracious character, are for the benefit of his Church — the salvation of his people. Hence the Christian is thankful. 1 Peter 1:3. His praise is fervent and triumphant. See Isaiah 12:1-3.
2. Intimate acquaintance and rapturous satisfaction with the works of his hands. Hence Paul, 1 Corinthians 2:2; Galatians 6:14. He glories in Christ's person — in Christ's life — in Christ's works, in his death, etc., etc.
3. The expectancy of an ultimate and complete triumph through the "works of his hands." His power will carry on the work he has begun. I will triumph over sin, and Satan, and men, and death, and Hell, through the making bare of your holy arm on the cross. We are more than conquerors through Christ!
4. A determination to proclaim "the works of his hands" to others — to spread the Gospel — to make others acquainted with his salvation, Psalm 34:2. If I cannot devote myself to its proclamation, I will give my prayers, my contributions, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified. "I will triumph in the works of your hands."