Happy Thanksgiving from Jay and Rhonda,
In this thanksgiving season, I have a new appreciation and gratefulness for the gospel of Jesus Christ; the unchanging gospel of incredible grace. We find in Paul’s letter to the Colossians a majestic summary of the gospel. Let’s look at a few of the highlights.
When you believed the gospel of Jesus Christ you were “delivered from the domain of darkness, and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son, Jesus, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14). You did not have a new wing added to your old dilapidated structure. You were airlifted and dropped into a brand new home in His kingdom; a home where you are redeemed and forgiven.
And Jesus Himself is not just in this home with you, He is in this home IN YOU! “God made known to us the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).
In chapter 2, we learn that we are to “walk in Christ in the same way that we received Christ; by faith” (Col 2:6). And this walk is all made possible because “in Christ you have been made complete” (Col 2:10). You were “buried with Christ … raised with Christ through faith … made alive together with Christ … having all of our transgressions forgiven, cancelled out, and nailed to the cross” (Col 2:12-14).
We live the life of faith by walking in the new self. “Your old self died and your new life [your new self] is now hidden in Christ. Behold, Christ is your life!” (Col 3:3-4).
You are now living as “those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, with a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Col 3:12). These attributes of Christ are yours because it is Christ Himself expressing these through you. We live the life, defeat the flesh, and experience victory over sin by allowing Christ to express Himself through our new self. And this new self is infused with thanksgiving.
Gratefulness is so much a part of our new life that Paul comes back to it for three verses in a row as He concludes his treatise on the new self. “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col 3:15-17).
In your unity and peace, give thanks. In Christ’s word dwelling within you, give thanks. In your singing, give thanks. And then it is as if Paul looks up and says, “You know the more I think about it, just give thanks in everything you do” (vs 17). Thanksgiving and a grateful heart are that important.
May I encourage you this Thanksgiving to thank the Lord for His goodness. Thank the Lord for the friends and family in your life. Thank the Lord for His material blessings. But don’t forget to thank Him for making you a new creation, with a new self; a new you with a soft and grateful heart.