Joy in Salvation
James Smith, 1860
"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands!" Isaiah 55:12
All creation has suffered by the fall. The world is not what it once was, for the ground was cursed for man's sake. Nor is the world what it will be, for the creation which is now made subject to vanity, and which is represented as groaning and travailing with pain — will be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Even now, creation is represented very often in the Scriptures, as sympathizing with grace; and the earth, as rejoicing with the saints. Hence the prophet, representing the deliverance of the soul from bondage, guilt, and death, says, "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands!" Isaiah 55:12
These were ungodly, unrighteous, and wicked; but a change has come over them, for . . .
they have heard the word of God, and believed it;
they have sought the Lord, and found him;
they have obtained pardon, and found mercy;
they have forsaken their own thoughts and ways, for the Lord's;
they have become examples and illustrations of God's thoughts — and they have proved the power and efficacy of the word, to produce a glorious moral transformation! They were thorns — but they are now cedar trees; they were briars — but they are now myrtle trees. They were the enemies of God, they are now his friends; they were once a curse — but they are now a blessing.
"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace."
You will go forth, from bondage to the law, the world, Satan, and sin.
You will go forth, into liberty, prosperity, enjoyment, and hope.
You will go forth, with joy:
the joy of the liberated captive, who feared he would die in the pit;
the joy of the emancipated slave, who had been working in fetters, under the lash;
the joy of the pardoned criminal, who had been expecting a shameful and painful death;
the joy of the restored prodigal, as he sat by his father's side at the festal board;
the joy of the renovated earth, when God has renewed and blessed it.
They are led forth by God's Spirit, by his servants and by his word. They are led forth in peace — peace with God, peace of conscience, and peace with all mankind. The joy and peace of the ransomed is unspeakably great and glorious.
THE JOYFUL ACCLAMATIONS.
The great and glorious works of God, represented by:
the mountains and hills, shall break forth before them into singing. These may set forth the elect angels, those unfallen and blessed intelligences, who always sympathize with God, and rejoice in the happiness of the Church;
the beautiful but changing of God's creatures, represented by the trees of the field. These may be the saints of God, the trees of righteousness, the right-hand planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
All in Heaven, and all in the church of God on earth, rejoice in the salvation of sinners. Everything looks beautiful, bright, and delighted, when souls enjoy holy freedom; and all appears calculated to increase our happiness. There appears to be universal sympathy — Heaven with earth, and earth with Heaven.
In our salvation, God is greatly glorified — more so than in our creation — infinitely more than in our damnation. This accounts for the provision God has made, the messages he sends, and the language he often uses. What encouragement for a sinner to seek salvation, to know that God is glorified in saving him. What ground for the confidence of the believer, to see that God's glory is great in his salvation.
In our salvation, all right-minded intelligences rejoice. There is joy in Heaven, and there is joy on earth. God rejoices over us with joy, and saints and angels rejoice too. The renewed, pardoned, and emancipated sinner, is among the happiest of God's creatures.
At peace with God,
in union with the Son of God,
inhabited by the Spirit of God
— he is filled with joy.
True, days of darkness will come, and season of sadness and sorrow will fall to his lot. But they are but short periods, "For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning!"
Our happiness make others happier. Because we are delivered from eternal death, and are invested with everlasting life, "The mountains and hills shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." If this is the case at present, how much more will it be so a the morning of the first resurrection! The from Heaven, earth, and seas, the saints shall be re-collected, and shall return to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their head; and the days of their mourning be ended! Lord, hasten, hasten that glorious time!