The Joy of Salvation
Delight in God is rooted in the belief that He holds future grace for our lives, and our confidence in this is bolstered by the grace and mercy we have been granted in Christ. As Christians, we are living testaments to the character and justice (read love, mercy, grace) of God. God gives us the ability to delight in Him and in salvation because of the hope that He will keep us and hold us in grace.
The character of David reflected in the Psalms resonates with believers on many levels, particularly with mature believers who understand the ups and downs of living the Christian life. We understand what it is like to taste of the goodness of God. We have praised God for the awesome creativity and power shown in His creation, and we have wondered how He could be mindful of us! Our cries of injustice around us, feelings of rejection by those close to us, questions of the outworking of His providential plan for our lives, and supplication for change to the course of our life’s events connect us with David. We have experienced the shelter of His wings, the secret place of the Most High, the shadow of the Almighty. We have likely lost a loved one that has reminded us to ask God to teach us to number our days and to make each one count for Him.
Common throughout David’s psalms is his yearning for fellowship with God, his confession of sin to maintain that fellowship, and the resulting joy. We, too, have experienced the unadulterated fellowship when we get up off our knees, having confessed all our sin to Him.
The familiar fifty-first Psalm—a prayer for so many—holds this pattern:
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
(Psalm 51:8–12 ESV)
Coming to the throne of grace confessing known and unknown sin: “blot out all my iniquities”—even the ones that I cannot think to name right now—expresses a desire to possess righteousness, to have a clean heart and a right spirit. Communion with God is the key to delighting in future grace, which holds our Christian hope, which is the anchor for our souls in this life!
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation” after I have confessed, expresses the desire to be made right, and (re)enter sweet communion with the Father. We cannot delight in God until the blackness of sin is taken away. We cannot taste or see the goodness of God or be in communion with Him as sin breaks our fellowship.
Then, notice the last words of verse 12: “uphold me with willing spirit.” In other words, keep me in this state because I cannot keep myself here; keep me willing to continue to keep short accounts with you, God; keep me willing to confess, to examine, and to repent, to rely wholly on you for the grace which will sustain my joy and delight in you.
The New Testament cements the same truth of delight in future grace. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” He is saying our hope must extend beyond what is immediately in front of us if it is to produce a deep-seated and true joy. It must trust in the reliability of God’s past record of accomplishing grace to continue throughout our future.
In the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, the author also mentions David (vs. 33) as a great witness to us today! Let his life’s example bring us delight in the God of our salvation, in Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation.