Thanksgiving for the Grace of Election

I have so much to be thankful for: a wonderful, loving, supportive wife and family, my health, good friends, a warm home, a good job. My cup certainly overflows. More than anything though, I am thankful for a loving, sovereign God that chose me before the foundation of the world. A God that chose me according to the riches of his grace – for his own pleasure – not because of any merit in me. A God that chose me despite my proud and sinful heart, despite my fickleness, despite my arrogance, and despite my sometimes fearful and thankless heart.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

—Ephesians 1:3-14

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

—Ephesians 2:8-10

If I thought that my salvation rested on or depended on my choice, or any merit or goodness in me, I would certainly despair. But it doesn’t – it is all of grace. Our salvation was arranged before the foundation of the universe and brought about by all three members of the Godhead working in concert: the Father planned it, the Son accomplished it, and the Spirit opens our eyes and our hearts to receive the promised blessing. How could one not give thanks for such a loving Savior?

True Gratitude

One of the grand traditions of America is our tradition of taking one day out of the year and setting it apart as a special holiday–a holy day–a day to commemorate the benevolent providence of God. It was originally called Thanksgiving. The idea of Thanksgiving day has its roots in our own history, in the bitter struggle that the original founding fathers of this country had with the elements.

The pilgrims who came to these shores in 1620 had their ranks depleted by almost fifty percent in the first year of their struggle in the new world. They lacked the shelter, food, and supplies that they needed to endure. But instead of being bitter at the severe losses that they experienced, as people and as Christians they were grateful to God for His kindness. And it was in their culture that the first Thanksgiving took place. It was then given new impetus during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, who made a national proclamation to restore this time of reflection and celebration of the goodness of God.

But we live in an age in which the culture has changed dramatically. It is now called the “secular age,” but we still have the tradition. Do you notice the subtly in which the meaning of this tradition has gradually eroded? Now it is almost as commonplace to hear this particular Thursday in the month of November being described as “Turkey Day” as it is to be described as “Thanksgiving.”

Thanksgiving is a moment to express profound, deep, sincere and genuine gratitude to the providence of God for a year’s worth of tender mercies that we have received from the hand of His benevolence. From his care, from His comfort, from His guidance, from His government of our lives, we are to take time to be grateful.

I think the resistance to that spiritual dimension of Thanksgiving is not something that is particularly symptomatic of our generation or culture. The resistance to authentic Thanksgiving is inherent to fallen humanity. It is not inherent to humanity as such because when we were created originally in the image and the likeness of God, in the pre-fall Garden of Eden, every day was Thanksgiving day. Every day was a day of feasting upon the fruit that God had made available for His creatures. And every moment God came into the garden He was greeted by loving, adoring creatures whose hearts were filled with gratitude to even be in the presence of God.

But with the fall something serious happened. Something penetrated the very soul of our humanity that still persists to this day. And that is a deep rooted reluctance toward gratitude before God.

—R.C. Sproul

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog