Five Reasons to be Thankful
November 1, 2010 - What should Christians be thankful for? Many of us, including me, would say things like family, country, homes, health and jobs. That’s a great start. But let me suggest something deeper and more profound: our salvation.
Through no merit of our own, God presented us with the gift of life eternal with Him.
by Skip Heitzig
In Colossians 1:3 Paul wrote, “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” Paul was in jail when he wrote that! But he was so in tune with God that his circumstances didn’t rob him of joy and thanksgiving. Paul inherently knew that there was a deeper reason to be thankful: God had rescued him from spiritual darkness, out of a spiritual prison. God continued to do great things for him, even in the midst of trials. Paul recounted five reasons all Christians are to be thankful.
First, God has qualified us. Paul wrote, “Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Colossians 1:12). The word qualified means “to make meet” or “to make able.” The idea is that God has enabled us to have something. Put simply, God has given us the privilege of a relationship with Him by forgiving us of our sins and providing a means to turn from the darkness and toward the light.
Think about that. Through no merit of our own, God presented us with the gift of life eternal with Him. The center of the Gospel is the cross of Christ. We simply come to the cross as humble sinners, in repentance and humility, and He accepts us. Through His blood He washes away our sins. As the hymnist reminds us, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” Christ has made us fit to be partakers. He has qualified us.
Second, God has delivered us. Paul said, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13). I’ve hung onto this verse because I was involved in the occult before I became a Christian. A friend and I used to do astral projection (a practice that supposedly allows you to travel on what’s called an astral plane through time and the universe). As teenagers we practiced praying to unknown spirits to find out about our reincarnated past lives. Let me just say that these spirits are real! Darkness is a real entity. We met the powers of darkness face to face.
When I became a Christian, I was delivered from that oppression. Like me, all Christians have been delivered from the powers of darkness. What a wonderful gift to be thankful for!
Third, God has conveyed us. Paul stated, “He … conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13). Here we find God moving and transporting us from one kingdom into another. Man was created to serve God and have a relationship with Him in a perfect kingdom. But, given volition (the power to choose), man chose to follow Satan’s advice. And now, every person must make a choice sometime in his or her life to leave the kingdom of darkness and walk into the Kingdom of light through the ticket that has been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. When we do that, we can be thankful that God will take us from hate, fear and oppression and bring us into a relationship of trust, love and hope.
Fourth, God has redeemed us. Paul wrote: “In whom we have redemption through His blood” (Colossians 1:14). Redemption means “to release a slave by paying a price, or to buy back.” It was a term borrowed from the ancient slave markets where someone could come in and pay a price for a slave. Once he’d paid the price, he could set the slave free.
I love the story of the little gingerbread man who was fashioned and shaped by a little boy to be his treasured companion. The boy loved the gingerbread man, but he didn’t need him—he merely looked in on him every day. One day the gingerbread man ran off down the street. The little boy ran after the gingerbread man, saying, “Come back!
You’re mine!” The boy looked all over town, in all the stores, and asked all the children, “Have you seen my gingerbread man?” Then he passed a pastry shop where he saw his little gingerbread man smiling down from the store window with a price tag of five cents on him. He rushed into the store and protested, “That’s my gingerbread man. I want him back!” The baker said, “You can have him for a nickel.”
The little boy responded, “But you don’t understand, I made him! He’s mine!” The baker replied, “Fine. If he’s yours, pay the price and you can have him.” So the little boy took a nickel from his pocket and paid for the gingerbread man. He gazed at him lovingly and said, “Now you’re really mine. You were mine first because I made you, but now you’re mine because I bought you.”
The same is true with redemption. God says, “You were mine because I made you—but you ran away from Me. Now you’re mine because I bought you with the blood of Christ.” He has redeemed us.
Fifth, God has forgiven us. Paul stated, “Through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14). The word forgiveness means “to send away.” God took your sins and shipped them off. Every week, city workers faithfully collect the garbage placed in front of my house and take it to the city dump. In all the years that I have enjoyed this service they have never once brought any of the garbage back! Jesus died for your sins and has forgiven you. He has taken your sins away and He will never bring any of them back.
These three short verses in Colossians show us how thankful we should be for our salvation. We can be thankful that God has qualified us, delivered us, conveyed us, redeemed us and forgiven us. And because we are thankful to God for so great a salvation, we can pour out our lives in service to God and become a conduit of His goodness to a desperately hungry world.
Skip Heitzig is senior pastor at Calvary of Albuquerque. His teaching can be heard on The Connection radio and television broadcasts, as well as on The Connection podcast.