Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Part 5


God commands us to offer perpetual gratitude - "In everything give thanks." (I Thessalonians 5:17).  However, as with every mandate of Scripture, we must view such responsibility more as privilege than mere servile duty.   

Moreover, such privilege begins and forever flows from the same blessed Fount as do all spiritual graces, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ.  "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).

I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:8).

      The Psalmist who wrote these words did not possess the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit as do all who trust in the finished work of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:17).  On the other side of the cross, as it were, we now exist as the very temples of God wherein the Spirit of Christ lives and walks in us (II Corinthians 6:16).  Thus, the devotion of the Lord Jesus to His Father works in us so that His thankful heart motivates and empowers our thankful hearts.  Indeed, in ten references in the New Testament, the writers depict the Savior expressing gratitude to His Father.  As He now dwells in us, we can thus expect His moving upon us to "walk, even as He walked" in the attitude and expression of gratitude (I John 2:6).  A thankful Christ fosters thankful Christians.  "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6). 

    Such sublime truth greatly enhances the giving of thanks.  What if our remembrance to express gratitude actually originates with the grateful heart of the Lord Jesus to the Father whom He so dearly loves?  A full and careful reading of the New Testament verifies such truth.  "Without Me, ye can do nothing... I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (John 15:5; Philippians 4:13).  The gratitude so pleasing to God and so necessary to our hearts must therefore proceed from the Son whose presence in our hearts constitutes believers as sons and daughters.  His thankfulness becomes our thankfulness, causing true gratitude to exist in us as the Christ-exalting and revealing reality that graces every work of God in our hearts.  Yes, the Christ for whom we most give thanks is the Christ who also moves upon us and within us by the Holy Spirit to live in perpetual gratitude.  Thanksgiving thus becomes something far more than we often consider, and far more wondrous an experience of the giving, receiving, and thanking that has forever existed in the triune God, and which now resides in the trusting hearts of sons and daughters united to the Son...

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one... O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.
(John 17:20-21; 25-26)

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