Wednesday, October 28, 2015
A Heart filled with Gratitude
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary...
They wandered in the wilderness...; They were hungry and thirsty; Their soul fainted within them. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses."
Psalm 107: 1,2, 4-6
Did you ever think of the lyrics to the refrain in the hymn, Jesus Paid it All written by Elvina Hall? It says: "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow." Does that sound like it might just be too good to be true, that we must have to do something? No, but the gospel really is good news for people who could not save themselves in a million years no matter how many chances they were given. The enemy of our souls doesn't want us to think of Christianity as "good news" but somehow reforming ourselves and never having fun anymore.
What a lie. I don't know about you, but Jesus came to give such a peaceful rest to my soul. He wants us to have His burden, which is light and gracious, instead of trying to bear our own. I don't have to pretend anything before God. He knows I am but dust. And so, He did everything that I needed in order to have a righteous standing with God. I remember hearing it like this once: It was like I am chauffered to the most fancy restaurant (one that accomodates the stars) for an exquisite dinner. After a succulent nine course meal with delicious beverage and dessert, I start to get nervous about how much the bill is going to cost me.
But then the maitre deux comes over, just as I am wondering if I am going to go over my credit limit paying for this meal, with the most wonderful news for me. The dinner, chauffeur, the tips and all other expenses related have been completely covered by an anonymous donor. I don't have to pay a penny for it.
That is what Jesus did in providing our salvation. He did it all, there is nothing we can add but to simply say "thank you." A thankful heart knows that all that he or she has was provided without cost by Another for a very expensive price. A price that we cannot fathom. All that is left is to say thank you.
I love the Romans account, stating so clearly that salvation is without cost to whoever believes. "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited for him as righteousness.' Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.' Romans 4: 1-5 (emphasis mine)
Christ justified me not when I got "good" but when I was still ungodly!`William Newell, in his commentary on Romans, has this to say about "But to him that worketh not..." "to him who 'casts his deadly doing down'; who, seeing his guilt, and his entire inability to put it away, ceases wholly from all efforts to obtain God's favor by his own doings, or self-denyings,--even by his prayers: but believeth on the God that declareth righteous the ungodly-- not the godly or the good!...If we say, God, indeed has some special cases justified notoriously, openly, evidently ungodly ones; while His general habit is to justify the godly (which is what human reason demands), then we at once deny all Scripture."
Romans Verse by Verse, by William R. Newell, p.132-33 copyright 1994, Kregel Publications
What is left then but to be thankful? Our Heavenly Father knows everything about us, and yet still loved us when we were dead in our trespasses and sins. He wanted so much to be able to fellowship with us broken people that He provided everything, so that man just needs to acknowledge the price was paid by Jesus. Again, it's just like eating freely at the fanciest restaurant and finding out your meal is covered. Your Best Friend, the one who sticks closer than a brother, paid it all for you just so He could get to know you and call you a part of His family.
Psalm 25: 1-2 "O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness."
Thank You God, for Your perfect faithfulness to me, in including me as part of Your family through faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.