Give Thanks

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

Thanksgiving Day is primarily designated as being two things: the day before Black Friday and the day for being grateful.

Of course, some people skip both of these meanings in order to opt for a guilt-free day of gluttony. With all of these different ideas swarming about, how ought we approach this holiday?

First, gluttony does not cease to be sin simply for a holiday’s sake.

Well, that takes care of one.

And as for Black Friday, Jesus’ words against materialism and idolatry are too many to mention here, so let us scratch that one off as well.

But what about Thanksgiving being the day to be grateful?

For a follower of Christ, thanksgiving cannot be limited to one day. If we believe that Christ, the God-man, died in our place, then the entirety of our lives must be overflowing with thanksgiving.

In fact, a thankful spirit is so fundamental to the Christian life that Paul commands it in all circumstances. The final three words are the most difficult to bear. We are commanded to be thankful, regardless of our situation. This is God’s will.

Yet how can this be?

How can God command us to be thankful in the midst of unemployment, chronic illness, or the death of a loved one?

Is God unsympathetic to our circumstances?

No, instead, true thankfulness can only come from a sincere heart. Thus, it is God’s will for us to realize that as His children we always have a reason for giving thanks. Though our health or loved ones may fail us, our eternal and loving Father cannot fail.

In fact, it is no coincidence that only two verses before, Paul also commands that we “rejoice always.” When in all circumstances we are in communion with the One who is both good and sovereign in all circumstances, we have reason, then, to be thankful in whatever life throws our way.

May we, therefore, give thanks to the God that never fails us, not simply today but every day, in every circumstance.

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Our Blessed Hope | Day 33

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:11-13 ESV)

Paul, writing to Titus, gives here a wondrous summation of Jesus’ first and second advent. He first states that in Christ the grace of God has come into the world, “bringing salvation for all people.” By His death and resurrection, Jesus redeemed “us from all lawlessness” and purified us for Himself as “a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (v. 14).” Indeed, Jesus saved us, redeemed us, purified us, and equips us to live godly lives.

But Paul also claims that in the midst of all of this, we are waiting for our blessed hope. He describes this hope as “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” This is the second coming of Christ. In His first advent, Jesus came as a servant, operating in a behind-enemy-lines manner that left most of the Jews doubting that He was really the Messiah.

Not so with the second advent. Revelation 19:11-21 gives us a clearer picture of Jesus’ appearing in glory. Splitting the sky in two, Christ will come back to earth upon a white horse with the armies of heaven behind Him. The Suffering Servant will establish His throne as Eternal King in the clear view of everyone. With His second coming Jesus will consummate the kingdom that He inaugurated with His first coming.


Considering also 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, in what ways is the second coming of Christ your blessed hope?