July 17: “The Smile of Salvation”

7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Chronicles 24:1–26:11
Romans 4:1-12
Psalm 13:1-6
Proverbs 19:15-16

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Romans 4:7-8 (NLT): “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin.”

Reflections from Scripture:

As we consider our Verse for Today, two things come to mind:

First, the word “joy.”

When we look at that word, we realize that it is rarely used outside of church culture. We periodically talk of happiness but rarely of joy. And, even then, for the past hundred years, Christians have created a false dichotomy between “happiness” and “joy.” We have wrongly heard that happiness is based on circumstances, and joy is what we can have in our hearts regardless of our circumstances. 

The only problem is that this isn’t biblical. So while there may be a bit of difference in the nuance of the meanings, joy and happiness are essentially the same things. (If you really want to dig into this topic, read “Happiness” by Randy Alcorn.)

So, the first point I want to make is that the word “joy” (Greek: “makarios”) could be translated as “happy.” “Makarios” speaks of a happy state of mind because it is the recipient of blessings. Since God is sending wonderful things their way, and since they are acknowledging those blessings, the “makarios” person naturally has a smile on their face and a song in their heart.

Which leads us to the second point: What are the wonderful things that the “blessed/happy/makarios” person receives?

Romans 4:7-8 (NLT): “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin.”

These verses speak of someone that is happy because they are forgiven! Their sins are covered! No one is left to condemn them because their sin account has been paid in full … by Jesus!

Friend, when is the last time that you got a smile on your face and a song in your heart when you reflected on what Jesus did for you on that old rugged cross? If it’s been a while, don’t you think you should spend some time very soon in deep reflection and with a heart filled with gratitude for what Jesus did for you? 

If you do, you are simultaneously working toward a happy state of mind. It’s a win/win. So, don’t wait. Do it today?

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I realize that I have taken what is free and made it cheap. I have received the gift of forgiveness and eternal life that You died to give me and taken it for granted. It doesn’t warm my heart like it once did. Please forgive me for being so ungrateful. Renew in me an awareness and heartfelt gratitude for what You died to give me. And as I reflect on Your priceless gift, help me to realize just how blessed I am as a child of God. Such a gift deserves a face that radiates the joy of gratitude. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Fernando Brasil on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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