10th April 2011

Thanks For The Indescribable Gift

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no-one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV UK)

Matthew Henry, the renowned Christian scholar, gave a personal example of unusual thankfulness. He was once accosted by thieves and robbed. He wrote these words in his diary: “Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”

The American holiday of Thanksgiving is a special time of the year in the autumn. If the UK had something similar it would probably come on April 24, celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday and St George’s day. For Christians, thanksgiving at any time of the year is to be defined as when we reflect on God’s grace and love, and consider the ways God has blessed us.

For Christians, of course, giving thanks to God is not confined to any single day. Giving thanks is the keynote of our lives and the centre of all our worship.

In the Bible there are more than 550 references to thankfulness. “Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving.” Psalm 95.2 is just one.

In the New Testament we’re told: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20). 

Because they were so focused on giving thanks to God for everything, Greek-speaking Christians gave the name Eucharist to the Lord’s Supper, a word that means “thanksgiving.” 

In describing the gospel, Paul writes, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

And no wonder, because the greatest of all gifts is the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Through him all our sins are washed away, we are given fellowship with God, and we enter into eternal life. Yes, thank God that he has saved us through Jesus!

Holy Father, thank you that you have made our salvation so simple, so straightforward, so plain. All was done in and through your Son; in giving his life for us, in his loving sacrifice for us all. Plain, simple, straightforward—but so wonderful! In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach 

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