The beginning of a New year is for many Christians a time of thanking God. Some section of the church even engage in what is commonly termed “cross-over” service whereby they ensure that the New Year meets them within the church precinct, never mind that such a one might have lived in disobedience to God all year round, and same lifestyle of disobedience will continue immediately he steps out of the church into the New year.
Oftentimes such thanks to God is for material things and so does not last long. It is alright and indeed expected that we thank God for material things. What is not expected is that the giving of such thanks is limited to the giving of material things. Because of the attachment of thanks to material things received, it does not last, and it is intermittent and half-hearted at best.
Many of the material things many consider as important and as such demand that they be blessed with are oftentimes are not received. Hence, when the material blessings are not coming, giving thanks stops. Questioning, and even berating God may follow from disgruntled hearts, especially from those who have developed the attitude of entitlement towards God. They claim God is obligated to bless them materially because they serve him and are obedient to him.
This attitude perhaps comes from lack of knowledge as to what God has done for the believer in Christ. Hence the need to see the how and why of continuously being able to give thanks to God.
Believers easily thank God for what I refer to as “landmark blessings.” These are the type of blessings people consider important or major in their lives. Things like finding a partner and getting married, the birth of a baby, securing a dream job, buying a car, buying a house, success in a business venture and such like.
As can been seen such blessings are not everyday events. Hence, many do not operate in an attitude of thanksgiving or do so sporadically. On the other hand, seeming delay or absence of any of these often result in anxiety and fear. Any of these could easily become a short-term or even long-term, all-consuming prayer project for some believers.
This piece is written in the awareness that believers in Christ need to be made aware of the very important spiritual blessings from God. These are what may then usher in the advent of material blessings. These spiritual blessings should be the main reasons for thanking God and remaining grateful to Him all the time even when material blessings are not evident.
If we think not only in terms of temporal things but shift our focus to the real things, that is, eternal, permanent things, our thanksgiving will have a better chance of being consistent and eventually becoming a lifestyle as it should be.
We shall look at three reason why we should give thanks to God always.
Three reasons for giving thanks to God are found in a passage in the epistle to the Colossians.
“12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Col 1:12-13).
“12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Giving thanks is an expression of gratitude. In this case, it is a prayer expressing gratitude, an acknowledgement and celebration of divine goodness. Believers in Christ are to give thanks for who God is. But in this case, it is specifically to be grateful to God the Father for what he has done.
The object of giving thanks in this case is God the Father:
God the Father is the creator of all things and also the provider (Gen 1:1; 1Cor 8:6). He is the Father of Jesus Christ (Mat 3:17; 11:27), and the Father of those who believe in Jesus Christ (Gal 3:26).
He adopts believers into his family (John 1:12-13). It is through the adoption of believers in Christ into the family of God that they become heirs of God (Rom 8:14-17; Gal 4:5-7).
It is the work of the Father (what he has done for the believers in Christ) that is being spoken of here in this verse of holy Scripture. However, the reasons for giving thanks in this case are specified. Three reasons are mentioned, one in this verse and two in the next verse.
The first of three reasons for giving thanks to God the Father is that he “hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints”
This is simply telling us that God is the one who has qualified or made us (the believers in Christ), sufficient or fit to share or receive a portion from the inheritance of the saints. This is in the past tense and a one-off event and not a process. It has already been done completely by God the Father at his own initiative.
We do not qualify for and are not sufficient or fit for this. But God is the one who acted and qualified the believer.
In ordinary everyday things of life, a person has to prove himself to qualify for something, promotion or bonus at work for example. But this is not so in this situation.
No one can qualify for things from God on the grounds of merit. So, God has taken the initiative and acted on our behalf and in our best interest without impugning his own character as the only living and true God.
The saints are the people of God, they are the one who have put their trust in the God of Israel who is the only true and living God. Every believer in God is thus addressed in the word of God as a saint and not some special group of people given the name “saint” after their death by some religious denomination.
Inheritance is something a person inherits from another usually because of being related as in the case of a child inheriting the property of his parents. The saints of God have inheritance reserved for them in heaven.
The inheritance of the saints, (the people of God), is eternal life in the kingdom God has prepared for his people from the foundation of the world (Mat 25:34). This comes through the Lord Jesus Christ to all who believe in him. God is the Father of light.
Believers start in his light and become lights in the darkness of their environment in the world.
The Father’s work is making us his children by adoption as a one-time event. He justified and sanctified the believer at once giving them a new standing in his presence as his children on the basis of the work of Christ which was the sacrifice from our sins.
This is not progressive sanctification. All believers at salvation and positional sanctification are at different levels of growth but have the same standing before God as his children because he has qualified or caused them to be sufficient to inherit as his children.
The believers are thus spoken of as being complete in Christ (Col 2:10). It is this qualifying or sufficiency that is the ground from which progressive sanctification begins to take place.
It is God who took the initiative and made all things possible.
Hence, we are told,
“29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren. 30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom 8:29-30).
13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”.
The second work of God the Father spoken of in this passage is that he “hath delivered us from the power of darkness”
The operation of the devil and his kingdom are described in much graphic terms in Scripture.
The term “darkness” as denoting evil is often used as a figure of speech to represent the devil, the kingdom associated with him and ungodliness in general. On the other hand, light is used as a figure of speech to represent God and the good associated with him and his kingdom:
“3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2Cor 4:3-4).
“18having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Eph. 4:18-19).
The devil and all that are allied with him not only have the power but also the desire to overpower, control and rule over people. And he has successfully ruled and continues to rule over numerous human beings whether they are aware of it or not.
As the word of God makes us to understand, those who are believers in Christ today including you reading this and I writing it have once been ruled by the kingdom of darkness:
“1And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Eph. 2:1-3). “” ().
And so, we are told that God had delivered us (believers in Christ) from the power of darkness. God had quickened (made alive) the believers (Eph. 2:1), who were “sometimes darkness.” Hence, believers are now light in the Lord and should therefore walk as children of light (Eph. 5:8).
Speaking further of believers, we are informed:
“and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1Thess 1:10).
“14Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14-15).
The third work of God the Father mentioned in this passage is that he “hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son”
That is, God the Father has transferred or conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of his love. The sense is that of conveying or carrying something very precious or valuable in protective custody and safety under the strictest security that makes hijacking, stealing and vandalizing impossible.
Like the bullion van with its precious cargo under powerful security escort while being overseen by constant real life clear-sight surveillance from point of departure to arrival at the safe depot, so God the Father has taken the saved sinner from the kingdom of darkness and securely conveyed him into the kingdom of his dear Son. And he is forever safe there.
“9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1Pet 2:9-10).
Hence, the three reasons here mentioned for giving thanks are spiritual in the main, but they have very important physical consequences for our current existence as believers in the fallen world.
Because they are spiritual there is the danger of oversight and forgetfulness because we do not see them as tangible the way we hold physical material gifts. Hence, the failure to remain thankful to God when we are not having material blessings the way we think we should.
This piece is just a reminder to all true followers of Christ to remember at least these three eternally enduring acts of God the Father for believers and thus to be giving thanks to him always.
Giving thanks to God is to be a lifestyle for the people of God.
“giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20).
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Col 3:17).
“21Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, And for his wonderful works to the children of men! 22And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, And declare his works with rejoicing.” (Ps 107:21-22).
Giving thanks to God can only become the lifestyle of believers if we think beyond the physical and temporal and see into the spiritual with its eternally enduring blessings of God that surpasses temporal blessings or temporal deprivations.
We should give thanks to God for earthly blessings. But we should realise that the earthly blessings are a result of and follow-up to the heavenly blessings.
While our earthly circumstances may fluctuate with much ups and downs, our heavenly status is established and stable. It for these heavenly blessings which are eternal that should motivate our thanksgiving.
God the Father had:
- Made us fit to share in the inheritance of the saints;
- Delivered us from the power of darkness;
- Translated or conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.
Remember, spiritual blessings are at the core of the relationship between God and his people. Material blessings in this world are more of a bonus. Three of those spiritual blessings are mentioned above.
Think of the eternal blessings of God and you will never lack reasons to give thanks to God the Father always. The eternal blessings are of much higher value and permanent compared to any temporary things of this world.
Think heavenly, give thanks to the God the Father through our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ always.
Please, note that one is speaking to and for those who had put their trust or faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord.
- Those who had believed that He was the Son of God who came, not to teach us how to live a good life, but that He came to die for our sins, and the sins of the whole world.
- That He came physically into the world through the virgin birth, lived a sinless life, though He was tested in all points like any man, but He did not sin,
- He was falsely accused with trump up charges, denied justice, beaten and scorched, and nailed to the cross on Calvary.
- He died on the cross, was buried, He rose again from the dead on the third day.
- After His resurrection, He showed Himself to and taught His disciples over a period of forty days,
- and in plain sight of them ascended into heaven, where He is now at the right side of God.
- He is coming the second time.
These are those described as being born-again or saved.
But if you are not yet of this group, if the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth is not yet your Saviour and your Lord, please this is what you need to settle first before we start thinking about giving thanks to God the Father.
I encourage you to do what the word of God commands to be done by every person:
There is only One step that must be taken:
1. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom 10:9-10).
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
All that appropriate the sacrifice of Christ are acceptable to Him. For He Himself extended the invitation to all:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat 11:28-30).
Why don’t you confess the Lord Jesus Christ NOW?
DO NOT DELAY ANY LONGER. DO IT NOW!!!
May the LORD accept you as you come to him in faith, in Jesus’ Name, Amen sdunhi