450 Grandview Drive
Cookeville, TN 38506
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
The Joy of Salvation
When the Ethiopian nobleman was converted by Philip, we are informed that following his baptism “he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). Have we lost that joy of our salvation? Can that explain why we are not doing more with the Gospel to reach those who are lost?
David wrote, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee” (Psalm 51:12-13). Read this Psalm, and let us briefly analyze what is being said.
“Then” - That is, upon having been cleansed and forgiven (v. 9), upon having a clean heart (v. 10), upon having the correct attitude (v. 10), upon recognizing God’s presence (v. 11), upon being Spirit guided (v. 11), upon being assured happily of my salvation (v. 12), and upon being fully aware of my dependence upon God (v. 12).
“Will” - Not ought, may, should, or can. The “will” must become operative; a firm commitment must be made. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).
“I” - It is not someone else, but “I.” It is a personal matter. We cannot pass off our responsibility to others. We cannot serve God by proxy.
“Teach” - That is the process that the Lord has chosen by which men are drawn unto Him (John 6:44-45). It is the process by which faith is produced in the human heart (Rom. 10:17). It is the way by which His word is made known (Titus 1:3). It is the process by which men are saved (I Cor. 1:21).
“Transgressors” - In the book of Acts it was transgressors being converted. Many had reached the depth of depravity; some had been guilty of crucifying the Lord (Acts 2:23), but the Gospel had sufficient power to reach them (Acts 2:37-41; I Tim. 1:13-14; Rom. 1:16; I Cor. 6:9-11).
“Thy Ways” - We are not at liberty to select the message. We are merely heralds of the message God has selected. He instructed Jonah, “Arise, go unto Ninevah, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee” (Jonah 3:2). We are to “speak as the oracles of God” (I Pet. 4:11). Every preacher is charged, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine” (II Tim. 4:2). Preaching any other gospel than that we (the apostles) have preached has the curse of God (Gal. 1:6-10). When all preachers take these charges seriously, we will all “speak the same thing and be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Cor. 1:10).
“And the sinner will be converted” - Successful results are assured. He did not say, “It will not do any good,” or “They will not listen.”
“Unto Thee” - Conversion is not unto the one doing the teaching, nor to our relatives’ religion. True conversion is to the Lord.
The late B. C. Goodpasture said that this text presents the greatest definition of preaching ever given. Let each one of us ask God to help “restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.” Then we can do a much better job reaching the lost.
Paul M. Wilmoth
Church of Christ