Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. ~ Psalm 100
Thanksgiving 2013. There is so much to be thankful for we cannot begin to compose a list. However, if we were to attempt to compose a list it would have to start with our Lord Jesus Christ. That is our focus here. Jesus Christ is our theme. He is the one we are thankful for and thankful to. I just want to offer a few reminders for why we should be thankful, in case you have forgotten or perhaps gotten lost in the chaos that is November and December. Reasons for Christian thanksgiving (primarily from the above Psalm):
1. We are thankful for the one true and sovereign God (Psalm 93:1; 95:3; Jeremiah 23:20; Rom. 8-9.), the triune God of the Christian faith (note: by necessity God has to be sovereign for Him to actually be God. Philosophically, God is the most powerful being that can exist, if one is more powerful then by definition He would cease to be God.. another talk for another time). God the Father, seeing the “fallenness” of his creation, promised (Gen. 3:15) and delivered a sacrifice for the atonement of our sins. He provided His own Son, Jesus Christ. What a selfless and sacrificial love. Christ came humbly (Phil. 2:5-11) to earth to die and be rose again, providing forgiveness of sin, reconciling those who would believe unto God (2 Cor. 5:18-21) all the while defeating Satan and conquering death (1 Cor. 15; Rev. 1:18). And due justification the Holy Spirit indwells in us (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 12:13), and works within us after sealing us (Eph. 1:11-14/eternal security) to guide us (John 14:16) and produce spiritual fruit in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23).
2. The Lord has adopted us to be his (Ps. 100:3; Rom. 8:15, 23; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). We are so unworthy to be adopted by such a King and High Priest. We are sinners to the core (Rom. 3) and yet God loved us anyway. Enough to die for us (Rom. 5:8) in order to make us a part of his family. Be thankful for divine adoption.
3. God is good (v.5; Mark 10:17-22). Wholly perfect (Ps. 18:30), just (Deut. 32:4), eternal (Deut. 33:27; Ps. 90:2; 1 Tim. 1:17), and merciful (Ps. 86:15).
4. God is love and he loves, in this case (v.5) steadfastly. God is love (1 Jn 4:8). He loves us and sent his Son to reconcile us to Himself (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 2 Cor. 5:18-21). Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he has loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ..” His love is unfathomable and it lasts throughout eternity. His love will never end.
5. God is faithful. To be faithful is to be reliable and unwavering. God is faithful towards his people. When God promises to do something, He does it. This is evident throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. For example, He promised a redeemer in Genesis 3:15 and delivered Christ as seen in the gospels. Another examples: He tells Joshua that He will go with Joshua and the Jews to the Promised Land (Josh. 1:5) and we can see the successes of Israel throughout the Book of Joshua. God is faithful to his people even when his people are not faithful to him (see Hosea as Israel is depicted as an unfaithful wife). God’s faithfulness is evident in his actions. He protects and sustains us (2 Thes. 3:3). He cleanses and forgives us of our sins (1 Jn 1:9). He is trustworthy to grow us in him and complete the task (1 Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6).
Though I could’ve listed many more things like “we should be thankful we have the very Word of God” or “we should be thankful Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us and intercedes on our behalf,” we will keep it brief and end the list here: Because God is who he is and does what he does, we should serve, worship and praise him (Ps. 100). Thanksgiving shouldn’t be just one particular day of the year, or an oversized meal. It should be a lifestyle. Christians should live with an attitude of thanksgiving everyday, in all that we say and do. We have a God who is true, sovereign, good, loving, faithful and has adopted us into his family through the cross of Christ, His slain and resurrected Son. For us, everyday is day of giving thanks, or at least, it should be.