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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 8 No.22 No Thank You, I’m Just Fine!

 

What am I thankful for? Or am I thankful for anything? Is my response to God, ‘No thank you, I’ve got this. I don’t need any help. I have only myself to thank for all that I have done.” We live in a culture that is so “me” focused that Thanksgiving has almost become blasé, with many people ungrateful for anything, just wanting to ‘gobble’ up ‘more’—always more. John D. Rockefeller, the first American billionaire, when asked by a reporter, “How much money is enough?” responded, “Just a little bit more.” Why would a billionaire want more? Because you can’t have enough money to satisfy or save your soul. There is only one thing that can bring true personal freedom and satisfaction, and that is Jesus—The only One who can free us from the bondage of sin, lust and the chains of greed.

As he spake these words, many believed on him. 31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:30-36

Jesus is the only One who can make us free—not ‘set’ us free but make us judicially free from the bondage and penalty of sin (By the transforming power of salvation by grace through faith. See Ephesians 2:1-10). And eventually, in God’s timing, HE will set us free from the very presence of sin. Jesus gives us life, and peace with God—not just the peace “of” God, but also peace ‘with’ God. How could we not be grateful when we have received such abundant, and amazing grace and mercy?

Therefore being justified by faith,

we have peace with God

through our Lord Jesus Christ:

By whom also we have access

by faith

into this grace

wherein we stand,

and rejoice

in hope

of the glory of God.

And not only so,

but we glory in tribulations also:

knowing that tribulation

worketh patience;

And patience,

experience;

and experience,

hope:

And hope maketh not ashamed;

because the love of God

is shed abroad

in our hearts

by the Holy Ghost

which is given unto us.

For when we were yet without strength,

in due time Christ died

for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man

will one die:

yet peradventure for a good man

some would even dare to die.

But God

commendeth his love

toward us,

in that,

while we were yet sinners,

Christ died for us.”    Romans 5:1-6

So much to be grateful for! So much to be thankful for! So much that Jesus Christ has done for us; and by faith we can receive all that He did for us at Calvary. Consider what HE did for us.

Justified us—He paid our legal debt, due for sin—

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

I owed a debt that would cost me eternity in Hell, yet Jesus paid that debt for me with His own blood. As an old song says, “I owed a debt I couldn’t pay, He paid a debt He didn’t owe. I needed someone to wash my sins away…” That is exactly what Jesus did for us, He washes away sin for those who come to Him in repentance and faith; exercising repentance (turning from my way/my sin) and placing my ‘active, receptive trust’/faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for my sin (I borrowed the “active, receptive, trust description from my Pastor, thanks Pastor Brad!). The Gospel of Jesus is the only thing that saves!

For I delivered unto you first of all

that which I also received,

how that Christ died for our sins

according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried,

and that he rose again

the third day

according to the scriptures:

And that he was seen of Cephas,

then of the twelve:” 1 Corinthians 15:3-5

Jesus did all this for you and me. I can’t think of anything that should make us more grateful. How about you? But that’s not all. Let’s go back to Romans.

Jesus gives us peace with God—reconciled enemies–

Much more then,

being now justified by his blood,

we shall be saved

from wrath through him.

10 For if,

when we were enemies,

we were reconciled

to God

by the death of his Son,

much more,

being reconciled,

we shall be saved by his life.

11 And not only so,

but we also joy in God

through our Lord Jesus Christ,

by whom we have now received

the atonement.   Romans 5:9-11

Jesus –justified us, reconciled us, saves us from death by HIS life (given up for us on the cross), atoning for our sin with His own blood! Praise God! Amen! But that’s not all!

Jesus bought us access to God—sonship—

Seeing then that we have

a great high priest,

that is passed into the heavens,

Jesus the Son of God,

let us hold fast our profession.

15 For we have not

an high priest which cannot be touched

with the feeling of our infirmities;

but was in all points tempted

like as we are,

yet without sin.

16 Let us therefore come boldly

unto the throne of grace,

that we may obtain mercy,

and find grace to help

in time of need.”     Hebrews 4:14-16

 

But as many as received him,

to them gave he power

to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe

on his name:

13 Which were born,

not of blood,

nor of the will of the flesh,

nor of the will of man,

but of God.” John 1:12-13

Jesus brings us into the family of God, and we can now have intimate, personal fellowship with God The Father. By Jesus’ work at the cross, He offers us His glory—and because of what He has done, is doing, and will do within us, we can glory in all situations because HE enables us to rejoice IN GOD—to know and possess the Joy of The Lord! And that is worthy of our thanks, our gratitude as well as our love and devotion. What Jesus gives us is power and hope, power and hope that prevail in any difficulty because God is at work within us—His Son and His power are at work in us through the power of His Holy Spirit!

And hope maketh not ashamed;

because the love of God

is shed abroad

in our hearts

by the Holy Ghost

which is given unto us

How can we not be grateful for what God has done for us if we are His? And if you don’t belong to Jesus, I invite you to come to Him today and have the greatest “Thanks-giving” ever, rejoicing in the “abundant life” that Jesus gives. I’m not talking about care-free, rose-garden, problem-free life, but a life that has the presence, power and provision of Jesus through any and all of the difficulties and trials of life. I have walked with Him for many years and I have walked some difficult paths, some of my own creation, but He has never failed me, ever. He will always bring glory to Himself, and growth in my life and yours. Jesus NEVER fails—I often fail—Jesus never does, and He is ever at work in all that comes into our lives.

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.

29 For whom he did foreknow,

he also did predestinate

to be conformed

to the image of his Son,

that he might be the firstborn

among many brethren.

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate,

them he also called:

and whom he called,

them he also justified:

and whom he justified,

them he also glorified.

31 What shall we then say to these things?

If God be for us,

who can be against us?” Romans 8:28-31

So I just want to thank God for each of you and call each of us to have a heart set on Him with an attitude of gratitude. I would challenge each one of us to take some time this week and sit down and write out a list of things that you are grateful for—not for public view, but just for your own personal encouragement as you rehearse the goodness of God and all the ways He has blessed YOU. I heard someone not very long ago, share a statement they had heard and it had a great impact on me, ‘What would you have tomorrow if you woke up and only had the things that you had thanked God for today?’ Quite a sobering thought. May we truly cultivate an attitude of gratitude—it’s a great cure for greed and selfishness. May we each work on that garden of gratitude every day, not just once a year!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,

all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness:

come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God:

it is he that hath made us,

and not we ourselves;

we are his people,

and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,

and into his courts with praise:

be thankful unto him,

and bless his name.

For the Lord is good;

his mercy is everlasting;

and his truth endureth

to all generations.” Psalm 100

Amen and Amen!