Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!

By Patricia Newman

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 136:1

Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.
1 Chronicles 29:13

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Psalm 107:8-9

Scripture is replete with thanksgiving and praise. Despite his numerous trials, David, the man after God's heart, gave thanks and praise continually, as his many psalms show.  Daniel duly gave thanks and praise to God for the divine revelation given to him - Daniel 2:19-23. For granting her petition for a son, Hannah gave extended praise to God, with a thankful heart - 1 Samuel 2:1-10.

Mary, in the Magnificat, rendered a magnificent song of thanks and praise to God for being chosen to bear the incarnate Son of God - Luke 1:46-55. Anna, the prophetess, gave thanks to God at the dedication of baby Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah. Jesus, our Lord, gave thanks to God before His miraculous feeding of five thousand - John 6:11. He gave thanks at the Last Supper with His disciples - Luke 22:26-27. He gave thanks before He raised Lazarus from the dead - John 11:41.

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thanklessness in a Christian is wholly unbecoming. The Christian is to give thanks in everything. The psalmist says: Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! There is indeed no group of people on earth that have a greater cause to give thanks and to sing the praises of God than Christians. Redeemed from our destructions - bought back from sin, the flesh, the world and the devil - and at such a high cost.

No circumstance, in the life of a Christian, lies outside of God's injunction to give thanks. "In everything" doesn't mean in many things and it doesn't even mean in most things. "In everything" means in every thing and in all circumstances. In prosperity as well as in adversity, in suffering as well as in joy, this heavenly direction appliesThere is no exemption, as a thankful heart is well pleasing to our God and it is His will for us.

Despite colossal sufferings for the cause of Christ, catalogued - though not exhaustively - in 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, the apostle Paul continually gave thanks to God, and he exhorted the church of Christ to give thanks. Gratitude and thanksgiving clearly characterised the man. Consider now these Scriptures:

I cease not to give thanks for you - Ephesians 1:16
We give thanks to God - Colossians 1:3
We thank God without ceasing - 1 Thessalonians 1:2
We are bound to thank God always for you - 2 Thessalonians 1:3
I thank my God always on your behalf - 1 Corinthians 1:4
We are bound to give thanks always to God for you - 2 Thessalonians 2:13
I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you - Romans 1:8
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you - Philippians 1:3
God be thanked - Romans 6:7
Thanks be unto God - 2 Corinthians 9:15
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord - 1 Timothy 1:12
But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest desire into the heart of Titus for you - 2 Corinthians 8:16
I exhort that ... and giving of thanks be made for all men - 1 Timothy 2:1
Now thanks be unto God who always causes us to triumph in Christ - 2 Corinthians 2:14
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ - 1 Corinthians 15:57.

Thankfulness is a humble recognition that we are, in our very essence, dependent creatures. Dependent on and continually receiving sustenance from our great Source and Life-Giver - God. Every breath, and all strength, mental faculties, gifts and provision - material and spiritual - come from Him. Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down to us from God - James 1:17. The wise and humble know the reality of their dependence on God and continually give thanks; the fool arrogantly believes the lie of his imagined independence and sees no need to give thanks.

Thankfulness is a hallmark of a Christian. The Christian knows that apart from God, he can truly do nothing.  Those who do not give thanks are without understanding. The Holy Spirit that indwells the believer gives him divine understanding. With the abundance of revelation given to the apostle Paul, he overflowed with thanks. He knew God's great love for us and the spiritual blessings accorded to us in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 9:15, he exclaims with great understanding and gratitude:

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.

A vessel of God, chosen for a special mission, our Lord said of Paul: I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake - Acts 9:16

But Paul knew that the sufferings of this world cannot be compared with the glory to be revealed in us. We can take comfort in the fact that God is sovereign over the suffering of His children, and in His power and His infinite wisdom, He brings us through and accomplishes His divine purpose.

Christians must abound in thanksgiving and praise to God. It is the will of God for us. Our thanksgiving rightly accords to God the honour and glory that is His due. Unthankfulness is a terrible sin against an infinitely good God. The Bible teaches that unthankfulness will be one of the marks of the darkness of the last days: 

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy - 2 Timothy 3:2

We can give thanks in all things, as we are exhorted, when we understand that our thanksgiving is not founded on our feelings or our circumstances. It is rendered to God for who He is. It is rendered in faith by the believer. It is testament to our complete and utter trust in God. Walking by faith, as we must (
Romans 1:17Galatians 3:11Hebrews 10:38), we know - in spite of our situation, what we see and how we feel - that God is good. God is all-powerful, God is all-wise, and God is sovereign over all our circumstances. He is working out His gloriously holy purposes and none can thwart Him. The focus and the reason for our thanksgiving then is God Himself. His unassailable character is our stay in the day of trouble, and our comfort in times of trial.

Faithfully and mercifully, God enables us, sooner or later with maturing faith, to see His hand in all our circumstances. In the fiercest storms of life, the saints can, in faith and with the Holy Spirit's enabling, give thanks, knowing that what He allows will be for our good and for His glory. When we go through the crucible (and we must), He is with us, refining and perfecting us, conforming us to Christ. Job could thus declare in the greatest of affliction: When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:10

In his trials, the comfort of God's word is ever before the faithful Christian:

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in usRomans 8:18  

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

We know that God is watching over us, He is near us, and He will never leave us nor forsake us, and we trust in His unfailing faithfulness. God's great love for us in Christ, His divine will for us, our continuing sanctification and conformity to Christ are infinite reasons to give thanks unceasingly.

As the year draws to a close and a new year and a new decade is about to begin, I am thankful. Very thankful.

Thankful for every breath that I have breathed in Him
Thankful for the great treasure of every word of God
Thankful for the leading of the Holy Spirit and His sanctifying work in me
Thankful for the great privilege of prayer and communion with my heavenly Father
Thankful that I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ
Thankful for every grace for challenging times
Thankful for material blessings and comforts accorded me
Thankful for my husband and all my children
Thankful for the wonderful fellowship of the brethren in Christ
Thankful for every true and faithful minister of Christ
Thankful above all for the unspeakable gift of my Blessed Redeemer, Jesus

Beloved, as we study and meditate on God's precious word, may we resolve to give God thanks and praise unceasingly, in the coming year and decade and forever, because He is WORTHY!!!

    What Shall I Render to My God

What shall I render to my God
For all His mercy’s store?
I’ll take the gifts He hath bestowed,
And humbly ask for more.
The sacred cup of saving grace
I will with thanks receive,
And all His promises embrace,
And to His glory live.
My vows I will to His great name
Before His people pay,
And all I have, and all I am,
Upon His altar lay.
Thy lawful servant, Lord, I owe
To Thee whate’er is mine,
Born in Thy family below,
And by redemption thine.
Thy hands created me, Thy hands
From sin have set me free,
The mercy that hath loosed my bands
Hath bound me fast to Thee.
The God of all redeeming grace
My God I will proclaim,
Offer the sacrifice of praise,
And call upon His name.
Praise Him, ye saints, the God of love,
Who hath my sins forgiven,
Till, gathered to the church above,
We sing the songs of Heaven.

Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

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