The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:16-17)
There is great joy in the heart of those who trust in the power of God and allow His grace to guide their lives. The story of spiritual satisfaction measured the lives of men like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Daniel. Throughout the centuries, the gospel of the good news instilled faith in God’s people to know the joy of eternal life.
The Law of Moses was not a book of laws without feeling. Keeping the commandments brought joy to the soul weighed down by sin. There was great joy in the Gentile city of Nineveh when Jonah preached repentance. The Holy Spirit revealed the mind of God, showing the way for all men to find spiritual satisfaction.
During the ministry of Jesus, seventy men were sent out to preach the message of God. When they returned, they were filled with joy because the demons were subject to them in the name of Christ. While there was a reward in defeating the minions of Satan, Jesus reminded the seventy the greater joy was their names were written in heaven. Spiritual satisfaction did not come from the miracles but from the eternal reward of being a child of God.
In the early days of the church, numerous stories emerged about the joy of those who were saved. Philip preached Christ to the city of Samaria, and many were obedient to the word of the Lord. There was great joy in that city. When Philip baptized the man from Ethiopia, the Ethiopian treasurer went on his way rejoicing.
Paul and Barnabas told the brethren in Phoenicia and Samaria about the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. The church of Christ is a place of joy for those who have found the grace of God.
Experiencing the feeling of joy does not save a person but rather is the outgrowth of the knowledge of salvation. Ferrell Jenkins writes, “We do not know we are saved because we rejoice – have joy, an emotional feeling. There is a place for happiness, joy, reverence, etc., in both private and joint worship. But spirituality should not be imposed; it should be the outcome of knowledge.”
In the religious world, feelings are measured more for salvation than obedience to the word of God. Many religious groups emphasize emotionalism as a sign of the promise of eternal life. Being ‘filled with the Spirit’ is often more important than being filled with the word. God never suggests feelings alone are a sign of spiritual satisfaction.
It should not be missed that feelings are a part of salvation. God never promised His people to find happiness in serving Him. He expects holiness. When a man lives a life of holiness, he finds the eternal joy of redemption. Spiritual satisfaction comes from the obedience of a devoted heart serving a loving Father. The Holy Spirit testifies to the Father who is a child of God and who is not. He does not base His decision on the individual’s feelings but on whether they have entered a covenant relationship with God.
Without obedience, the joy of salvation is empty. Having a “better felt than told” religion is trying to find satisfaction in the carnal nature of the human heart. Eternal life will only be given to those who keep the commandments of the Lord. Jesus said not all men who call Him “Lord” will be saved. Only those who do the will of the Father will be saved. Rejoice. Salvation is near.