Rejoicing in God's Salvation
by William Nicholson, 1862
"I will rejoice in your salvation!" Psalm 9:14
The minds of the wicked find joy from the most trivial causes — causes which the Spirit of God has taught the Christian to estimate as mere "vanity and vexation of spirit." To the enlightened mind, the pursuits of this world, and the possessions of the most wealthy, dwindle into insignificance when compared with the value of the soul and its great salvation. If a sinner finds cause for joy in his career of iniquity, the end of which is damnation — then surely the believer has in God's salvation an unfailing source of joy and consolation.
Hence this is a wise resolution, "I will rejoice in your salvation!"
I. What Does God's Salvation Imply?
1. Salvation implies a knowledge of it.For no one can ever rejoice in it, unless he understands it. Hence Psalm 89:10. There will be,
(1.) A knowledge of the necessity of it, arising from the conviction of one's fallen, guilty, and condemned state before God.
(2.) A knowledge of the accomplishment of this salvation, by the atoning death, resurrection, and intercession of Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 1:15.
(3.) A knowledge of the proclamation of this salvation to the repentant and believing sinner, Mark 16:15, 16. That it is offered to the vilest of the human race — to all who repent, and that without money and without priced. A knowledge that when received, it will grant . . .
pardon to the guilty,
justification to the condemned,
liberty to the spiritual captive,
health to the spiritually sick,
sight to the spiritually blind, and,
in short, "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus"
2. Rejoicing in salvation implies that the person has felt his need of it; otherwise he could not rejoice in it. He has known the plague of his own heart. The Spirit has opened the eyes of his understanding, and revealed to him his guilt, and need of the Savior. He has felt his helplessness, and perceived and felt the adaptation of the Savior to his state as a perishing sinner.
3. It implies that to rejoice in this salvation, a person must have a saving interest in it; that is, he must "be saved," otherwise he could not rejoice. The Jailor believed, etc., and he rejoiced, etc. Acts 16:34. The sick person rejoices when his disease departs, when the bloom of health again mantles his cheek, etc. The debtor rejoices when his debts are discharged, etc. The culprit rejoices when reprieved, when he hears the opening of the doors of his prison-house. And shall not the penitent and believing sinner rejoice? He is saved! Saved from . . .
the guilt of sin,
the condemnation of sin,
the power and dominion of sin,
the power of death,
the dominion of the grave, and
the vengeance of everlasting fire!
He has a saving interest in this salvation, and can set to his seal that God is true.
II. What Does God's Salvation Produce?Joy and rejoicing! "I will rejoice in your salvation."
To rejoice is to be glad, to be thankful, to exult and triumph. Luke 1:58; 1 Thessalonians 5:16. It springs from the realization of mercy through the sin-atoning death of Christ. It is the effect of the truth believed through the enlightening influences of the Spirit, and is termed, "joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17. The disciples were "filled with joy," when they believed the Gospel, Acts 13:52.
Joy is seldom excited but on some great occasions, and the seasons of religious joy are distinguished by some interesting or extraordinary occurrence, such as . . .
at the preparation for building the temple of Jerusalem, 1 Chronicles 29:9;
at Hezekiah's Passover, 2 Chronicles 30:25, 26;
at the rebuilding and dedication of the city wall. Nehemiah 2:43;
at the birth of Christ, Luke 2:10-14;
at the appearance of the star, Matthew 2:10;
at the ascension of Christ, Luke 24:52.
This rejoicing is over . . .
an infinite soul,
redeemed by an infinite price,
from an infinite damnation,
to infinite joys, realized first here, and then to be realized in an infinite Heaven.
What a possession! What a prospect! "I will rejoice in your salvation!"
1. The believer rejoices in the origin of salvation.It is the result of distinguishing grace — the sovereign goodness and unmerited compassion and favor of God. Man . . .
did not deserve it,
had no equitable title to it,
never solicited it.
God beheld him as an outcast, pitied him, and condescended to save him! The gospel is called, "The gospel of the grace of God!" Acts 20:24
2. The believer rejoices in the procuring of salvation.Although that was characterized by suffering, ignominy, and death — yet he rejoices that the Captain of his salvation paid the full price for his sins. When he sees his Redeemer in the garden and on the cross, he weeps — but they are tears of joy. There he sees Christ's astonishing love. There he sees Him bearing his sins — and dying in his stead, etc.
3. The believer rejoices in the application of salvation to his soul.Once he knew nothing about it — or treated it with indifference and contempt. But when the commandment came, sin revived, and he died.
Then he cried, "What must I do to be saved?" Then he became anxious after salvation; and it was as welcome to him as water in the burning desert to the thirsty traveler ready to perish. He rejoices . . .
in the first impressions of Gospel power,
in the first dawning of light on his mind,
in the first touch of the great Physician,
in the first taste of spiritual liberty.
4. The believer rejoices in the actual experience of salvation.He does not merely profess joy, but he feels it. He has the assurance of pardon, etc., by the witness of the Spirit. "We who have believed do enter into rest." He has a saving interest in it, as was said before.
5. The believer rejoices in the glorious properties of salvation . . .
the freeness of it, requiring no qualifications nor conditions,
the purity of it, unto holiness,
the power of it, saving him from the guilt, dominion, and pollution of sin,
the extensiveness of it, investing him with every spiritual blessing,
the certainty of it, assuring the soul, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish — ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand." John 10:28
6. The believer rejoices in the prospective consummation of salvation in Heaven.This salvation concerns his body, which the Savior will raise and glorify, Philippians 3:21. Hence he joyfully hopes for this, 2 Corinthians 5:1, etc.
This salvation concerns both body and soul, which will be united, as one glorious being, to enjoy complete felicity forever in Heaven!
Salvation is not perfect here — but it will be perfect there. The Christian anticipates with joy . . .
the full harvest,
the fruition of hope, and
the vision of glory in which faith shall be lost.
"You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand!" Psalm 16:11
"And I — in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness!" Psalm 17:15
1. Religion is not gloomy, but pleasant. It gives joy, and leaves no sting behind. How mistaken are the carnal men who call it melancholy!
2. The value of religion is especially seen in adversity. Witness David, Job, Apostles, who rejoiced in suffering, etc. "Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights!" Habakkuk 3:17-19
3. See that your joy is well-founded. Let it not be the joy of the hypocrite, nor of the Pharisee. "That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment!" Job 20:5