Thankfulness is part and parcel of the Christian faith.

We can see this in the Psalms, where thanksgiving is found in virtually every Psalm. The Psalmist reacted with gratitude and exuberance whenever he realized that God had delivered him and his people.

That’s usually the pattern in Scripture. Thanksgiving is offered in connection with an act of salvation. The Psalms and other portions of Scripture associate the giving of thanks with a divine act of mercy.

The Song of Miriam, for example, is a song of deliverance offered after the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry land while fleeing from the Egyptian armies:

I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted;
The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. (Exodus 15:1)

Thanksgiving is a necessary requirement of the Christian life.

Thanksgiving is an impulse that’s built into the fabric of human nature. It’s the way we are; we are made to want to give God thanks. In fact, Paul said in Romans 1:18 and following that the sinners’ refusal to give God the thanks He is due is a reason for their having been given over to rebellion:

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened… Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity… (Romans 1:21, 24)

We are made to acknowledge that God is God. We are made to have fellowship with Him. Adam and Eve knew God, and they walked with Him in the garden. The consequence of mankind’s rebellion, the fall, is that we are alienated from God. The fall represents a curse upon the entire created order, so that the creation itself has now been tainted and shot through with rebellion.

You are the object of a dramatic rescue operation.

The whole story of the Bible is the story of a rescue operation to bring the creatures of God back into fellowship with their maker. Abraham picked up the mantle of blessings that God had given to Adam and Eve, and God promised that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through Abraham.

Paul explained in Romans 4 that the promise God gave to Abraham was a promise not only for Jews, but also for gentiles—indeed, for all the earth. Abraham, the “father of many nations,” was made an ancestor of Christ Himself. All who believe in Christ are sons and daughters of Abraham by faith. We are brought into the family of Abraham, Jews and gentiles, by virtue of believing in Christ.

The story of Scripture has reached its culmination in the person of Christ. There have been many strange twists in the story, but the rescue operation has now taken place. The long awaited representative of humanity, the son of God, has come. He was rejected by His own; He was crucified. The kings and princes of this world—the Roman authorities and Jewish leaders—conspired against the Lord and His anointed one in fulfillment of Psalm 2, but God has begun a new creation. With the resurrection of Jesus, God begins a new creation:

If anyone is in Christ, behold, a new creation. The old has passed away. The new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

On the basis of God’s rescue of us through Christ, we can now be thankful in all things.

Related blogs about thankfulness:

The preceding was adapted by Rachel Motte from a sermon delivered by Dr. Sloan at Kingsland Baptist Church on November 24, 2013.

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