Salvation Joy

Title: Salvation Joy

Bible Book: Psalms 51 : 12

Author: Francis Dixon

Subject: Joy; Joy Restored



[Editor's Note: THE SUBSTANCE OF A MESSAGE PREACHED BY THE REV. FRANCIS W. DIXON AT LANSDOWNE BAPTIST CHURCH, BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND, ON 10 March 1968. PastorLife expresses gratitude to David and Mary Tucker, son-in-law and daughter of the late Francis Dixon, for making the Lansdowne sermons available. For more information go to]

"Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation" (Psalm 51:12)

Psalm 51 is one of the penitential psalms, and it was written by King David who was a true believer in the Lord, a "man after God's own heart". It was written at a time when David was in terrible trouble. He had suffered a great spiritual and moral relapse. He had gone into open sin, and not only one sin but sin upon sin. We can read the tragic account in 2 Samuel chapter 11, a chapter which should be read quietly and prayerfully. In spite of David's sin the Lord still loved him very much, but because of David's sin he was now out of fellowship with the Lord. He had not lost his salvation, but he had lost the joy of it, as our text tells us. This urgent, earnest prayer of David's - "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation" - teaches us three things.


In the Bible and in experience salvation and joy always go together - "the joy of thy salvation". When a man is saved a new joy comes into his heart and life; thus, we find Peter saying that as Christians we "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory", and we hear a fairly recent convert saying, "I'm happier now when I'm sad than I used to be when I was happy!" The Devil would have us believe otherwise. He wants us to think that to become a Christian is to become sad. This is not true. To become a Christian is to become glad - glad in the Lord! What is the joy that accompanies salvation?

A. Joy of Receiving Christ

First, it is the joy of receiving Christ as our personal Savior. The best illustration we have of this is in the story of the conversion of Zacchaeus. When Jesus asked Zacchaeus if He could accompany him to his home we are told that Zacchaeus "made haste and came down and received Jesus joyfully", and that Jesus Himself then said to him, "This day is salvation come to this house." So, when Christ is received as personal Savior, joy is received; if joy is to be received Christ must be received!

B. Joy of Sins Forgiven

Second, it is the joy of knowing that our sins are forgiven. In another penitential psalm, Psalm 32, David says, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile" - and the word "blessed" simply means "happy" or "joyful". We are told that when Jesus forgave the woman who was "a sinner" and who came and "washed His feet with her tears", she immediately received His word of assurance and she went forth with His peace filling her heart. We are not told in so many words that she was filled with joy - but of course she was! It was the joy of knowing that her sins were forgiven.

C. Joy of Fellowship with the Father

Third, it is the joy of fellowship with the Father. When the Prodigal Son

was in the far country he was out of fellowship with his father; when he returned, the fatted calf was killed and the son enjoyed the meal with his father, and "they began to be merry" - they, that is both of them, began to be merry, joyful. This was the joy of fellowship that had been restored.

D. Joy of Obedience to the Lord

Fourth, it is the joy of obedience to the Lord Jesus. Out in the desert of Gaza the Queen's Treasurer came to know the Lord, and on hearing of the Lord's command concerning baptism he asked that he might be baptized. He was baptized, "and when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing." That is to say, the new convert went on his way rejoicing; he experienced the joy of obedience to his newfound Lord.

So, salvation is accompanied by joy, the joy of receiving Christ as our personal Savior, of knowing that all our sins are forgiven, of coming into fellowship with the Father and of obeying the commands of the Lord. Do you know this joy?

But the burden of the message in our text is in our second and third points. Notice the second.


This is very solemn indeed. David did not lose his salvation, but he did lose the joy of it. When God saves a soul He saves that soul for eternity. Salvation cannot be lost, but the joy of salvation can be lost. How is the joy of salvation lost? There is one reason only, and that is sin - s-i-n. This is what did it for David, and this is what does it for anyone. Sin, disobedience to the Lord, breaks fellowship; just as Adam and Eve immediately had their fellowship with God affected when they sinned against Him. We might also mention Abraham, or Jonah, or Peter, but we do not have to mention them, for we only have to look into our own hearts and back over our own history. We have experienced this thing ourselves; we have known what it is to have joyful, happy, holy fellowship with our Heavenly Father - and then suddenly that fellowship has been broken. Why? - and how? By some sin, by some disobedience, by some refusal to do God's will. How is it with you now? Have you lost fellowship? Are the following verses the language of your heart?

Where is the blessedness I knew

When first I saw the Lord?

Where is the soul-refreshing view

Of Jesus and His word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!

How sweet their memory still!

But they have left an aching void

The world can never fill.

Are you out of touch with the Lord? Are you in the far country? Are you a backslider? Are you an unhappy Christian because sin has come into your life and fellowship has been broken? Well, if so, I have some good news for you.


Thank God for this! This is what David prayed for, and of course his prayer was answered. If we have lost the joy of salvation, if we are living in a condition of broken fellowship, how do we regain that joy and how do we have that fellowship restored? There are three steps indicated in this 51st psalm.

A. Admission

First, there has to be an admission. We must admit our sin. Now David did this very specifically, for in verse 3 of the psalm we find him saying, "For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me." David admitted his sin, he acknowledged it and he did not try to cover it up; he uncovered it, and this is the first thing that we must do if the joy which we have lost is to be regained. But notice there is a second step.

B. Confession

Second, there must be a full confession. David made a full confession, as verse 4 tells us, when he said, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." When we make a full confession of our sin then the Lord is quick to have mercy upon us and to restore unto us the joy of His salvation - "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." Then there is a third step that follows.

C. Petition

Third, there must be petition. David prayed for pardon and cleansing - in verse 2: "Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin." In verse 7: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." And in 1 John 1:9 we have the great and glorious promise that "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

So, if sin has come into your life, your fellowship with God has been broken and you have lost the joy of His salvation, then you must admit the fact, you must confess your sin and get right with God, and then you may ask Him for His pardon and for His cleansing and He will hear and answer your prayer! In this way, and in this way only, will you have restored to you the joy of His salvation.


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