Reasons to Give Thanks
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
Thanksgiving Proclamation signed on October 3, 1789, by George Washington, President of the United States of America: Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
As a nation, we have a great heritage. Our founding fathers believed in God and openly gave thanks to Him for His goodness. 229 years after Washington proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, the average American knows little about history and even less about the Bible. In Paul’s day, the government was godless, justice was lacking, cruelty was normal, and slavery occurred around the world. How could anyone give thanks to God in times like that? How can anyone give thanks to God today?
Despite the problems in the world, there are reasons to give thanks. No matter what tribulations we are facing, there are reasons to give thanks. God is sovereign and in control. We may not be able to change the world, but we can have peace in our hearts by seeing God’s hand at work. In Colossians 1:12-22, there are six reasons why we should be thankful.
1. God made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Colossians 1:12: “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” Giving thanks calls for an attitude of gratitude which permeates our life and affects all we do and say.
An attitude of gratitude affects our giving. 2 Corinthians 9:7: “God loveth a cheerful giver.” It affects how we treat others by showing mercy with cheerfulness. Romans 12:8: “He that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:10: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” It also affects our outlook on life. Romans 12:12: “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”
An attitude of gratitude that controls our disposition should characterize who we are as believers in Christ Jesus. God loves us. Because of our relationship with Him, we are made heirs of the Almighty. Ephesians 1:11: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”
As believers, we have an inheritance with the saints. Colossians 1:12: “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” A saint is a holy person who lives out their faith. As a believer, we are now made fit to receive an inheritance.What makes us fit to receive the blessings associated with the saints? In Ephesians 1:3-12, we see that we are fit to receive an inheritance by being a part of God’s family by the blood of Christ.
2. God delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of Christ. Colossians 1:13: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” Before salvation, we were enslaved by the power of sin. 2 Peter 2:9-19 is a description of what our life was like without Christ. We don’t have to live like the devil. Jesus has cleaned us up. Jude 22-23: “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” God broke sin’s hold on us and made us one of His subjects.
3. God provided redemption through the blood of Christ. Colossians 1:14: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” What an awful price Jesus paid for our sin. John 1:29: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Jesus purchased our salvation with His blood. Redemption means to purchase from the slave market of sin never to be returned. While some might argue that there are multiple ways to God, God says there is only one way of salvation. Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Our hope is in the Lord. There is no way to work for or earn our salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We should rejoice and give thanks for our redemption through the blood of Christ.
4. God provided the Savior. Colossians 1:15-20. This Savior made peace through the blood of His cross. In other words, Jesus’ death on the cross satisfied God’s wrath against our sin. Christ made the payment in the atonement, thus making salvation available. Jesus did all the work. People complain that there is nothing for free. The gift of salvation was not without great cost to the One making the sacrifice, but it is free to those who repent of their sins and submit to God by calling on Him for salvation.
5. God reconciled us to Him. Colossians 1:20b-21: “By him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” Reconciliation deals with the hostility between God and man. God is angry with man for three reasons. 1) We are alienated. Mankind is separated from God. 2) We are enemies of God. Our will stands in direct opposition to the will of God, and we seek to throw off any vestige of God. We stand in direct opposition to God. 3) We are wicked. Mankind not only stands against God, but seeks to normalize evil behavior. It is clear that God does not need to be reconciled to man’s wishes. Mankind must be reconciled to God. If you have been transformed by the power of God, you have reasons to rejoice. The penalty for sin has been paid. God reconciled you to Himself.
6. God changed our nature. Colossians 1:22: “In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” God transforms the nature of saved individuals. We are: 1) Holy - separated unto God. 2) Unblameable - without blemish. This is the opposite of one with shame and moral disgrace. The character of our life is now different. 3) Unreproveable - no need to reprove, rebuke, or expose something hidden. We are genuine. 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
You have a totally new start in Christ. This is a reason to rejoice and give thanks. Don’t allow Satan to rob you of the source of true joy. Believers in Christ have every reason to rejoice and give thanks.