Thanksgiving Day 2019 – “Thanks Be to God!”

2Cor9-15The gift that believers truly give thanks for is an unspeakable gift.  It is a gift of priceless possession—a gift that once given we cannot lose!  It is a gift that, if we possess it, will have an effect on all those earthly gifts we receive from God.  What is the unspeakable gift I am talking about?  Salvation! It is a gift that God has given us in Jesus Christ Himself.  In fact, if we were to focus exactly on the unspeakable gift God has given us, it is Christ!  God sent forth His Son into this world.  That was a gift.  That Son suffered and died on the cross for us!  That is a gift!  That Son was raised again for our justification and life.  That is a gift!  That Son has sent forth His Spirit to live in our hearts.  A gift!  That Son preserves us in that salvation.  A gift!  And Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will usher us into the heavenly kingdom that awaits us.  A gift!  God gives us all of this in Christ Jesus our Lord!  Talk about a reason for giving thanks!

        Notice how our text emphasizes that all of this is a gift.  Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. We all know what a gift is, that is, if something is truly a gift.  It is something freely given to another—not because he has merited it or earned it.  Most of the time when we give gifts it is to those we love or like, and simply is an expression of our appreciation for them.  If this is true, then it is amazing when we look at what God does in bestowing gifts on His creatures.  These gifts of God are not only not earned, they are also not deserved in the least sense of the word.  They are not an expression of appreciation by God for something we have done.  They are given wholly, purely, out of God’s goodness!  He is good!

        The fount of all good!  Out of His goodness He provides the creatures of His hand with what they need.  Our earthly possessions are a gift given us by means of God’s providence—God provides for all His creatures.  Even the reprobate man receives earthly possessions and wealth from God’s almighty hand.  But the gift of our salvation that is given is even more so a gift!  It is ours by means of God’s grace!  Is this not the testimony of the gospel to you and me, beloved saints?  We receive our salvation not of works.  We receive it only by God’s sovereign and free grace.  In fact, we were not even worthy of receiving this gift!  We were doomed to perish in our sins.  There was no hope!  There was no way of escaping punishment for the sins we committed against God.  Then God, freely and sovereignly, saved us.  He in His grace sent His Son to die for us—the Son that He had loved from eternity.  God sent Christ to bear the full punishment of His wrath against our sins and delivered us.  This gift of God is unspeakable! We cannot express its beauty, its power, its wonder, its worth in human terms!  We do not even know how to put into words the joy and thanksgiving that we have for what God has done for us in Christ!

        How does one begin to describe what great things God has done for us who are saved in the blood of Christ?  He has saved us and by means of that salvation has adopted us as His children and heirs unto life eternal.  In His grace He has chosen to fellowship with us, to uphold us in our needs, to grant to us the knowledge that in every circumstance of life He, the great and mighty God of heaven and earth, is with us.  He will uphold us in the hour of our greatest temptation and trial.  He will lead us even through the valley of the shadow of death!  He is our God and we are His people.  The blessedness given us freely by the hand of God is indeed the greatest, most wonderful of all gifts!  It is unspeakable, indescribable, unutterable, beyond our finite comprehension what God has done for us!  Thanks be to God!

        This salvation—this gift of God’s grace to us—works in us overwhelming gratitude. And in that gratitude, we take a new look at the earthly gifts we have received from God’s hand.  Now, we see that these are means that we can use to seek a higher end—that of our final salvation.  No, they will not help us earn that end. But we can use them for the work of the Lord in this world.  Not only do we use our money and our possessions to support our family.  We certainly do not selfishly horde that money and say, “It’s mine!  I will use it for me, for what I want.”  But we use it also to support the church and help those in need!

        So we get the instruction we do in II Corinthians 9:6, 7:  “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity:  for God loveth a cheerful giver.” That is the relationship between the earthly and the spiritual gifts we receive from the hands of our God.  But our thanks is given not simply because of the unspeakable gift.  Look, also, at who gives it.

Part of the Thanksgiving message of Rev. W. Bruinsma for the Reformed Witness Hour this past Sunday, November 24. You may listen to the message here; you may read it here.

May the Lord of abundant grace richly bless your Thanksgiving Day, and give you abundant joy in Him and and deep thanks to Him.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:1,2