This week Thursday the PRC Seminary will celebrate the annual day of Thanksgiving held here in the United States. We have so much to be thankful for; our lives are full of the goodness and gifts of God; our hearts are filled with humble joy for we realize our utter unworthiness to receive the Lord's mercy and saving grace in Jesus Christ; and so our mouths overflow with thanksgiving to our great and good God.
In this spirit of gratitude we share with you these Thanksgiving season thoughts from former professor Robert D. Decker in an article he wrote back in Nov.15 of 1988. The text on which he based it was 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." We pray that this will be the thanksgiving you express this week - and every day.
"But this is not everything! When the text says "in everything," it means that should God take away our freedoms and send us persecution we must also then give thanks. There are thousands of saints in other lands who must worship in secret and who are put in prison merely for reading the Bible. To them the Lord says, "give thanks." Also when the great tribulation comes we shall be called to give thanks in everything. After all, to suffer together with Christ is also to be glorified together with Him! "The same applies to our live as individuals! In everything give thanks! For our earthly life and all its gifts, our powers and talents, our health and employment, our abundance of food and drink, our peace and plenty, our homes and families, the rain and sunshine, the crops and harvest...in and for all these give thanks. "But our thanksgiving doesn't end there! This is not everything. Our earthly life is not all prosperity, joy, peace, and plenty. It's also a weary night of sin and death. The creation itself bears the curse of sin, and the creature is subject to vanity. Death pursues us relentlessly and casts its shadow over even our brightest moments! There is health, but also sickness. There are fruitful years, but also barren; peace, but also war. There is rain and sunshine, but also wind and storm. There are joys, but also sorrows!
"In all these circumstances too, give thanks!
"Impossible, you say? Indeed it is! For the unbeliever! No matter his life's circumstances—whether God sends him health or sickness, poverty or plenty, he cannot give thanks. His life consists of the abundance of the things he possesses. And all these are lost in death.
"But can we who by grace believe on the Lord Jesus Christ give thanks in everything? Can we give thanks for sickness? When God takes the love of our life from our side can we give thanks?
"Yes, we can! We can give thanks in everything because this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us. God willed us to be in Christ. God sent His Son to die on account of our sins and to be raised from the dead on account of our justification. By His Spirit we are born again with life from above. We are united to Christ by faith, God's gift. This is the gracious will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us!
"Why? Because God wants a people, filled with His goodness, to acknowledges Him thankfully in everything!
"Because that is God's will concerning us. He comes to us with this word, "In everything give thanks." This is possible only by the grace of God! It is possible only because everything is for our good and salvation. Nothing can be against us! God withholds no good thing from us. All things work together for our good. This is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus.
"Really it all comes down to this: we have one thing for which to give thanks, our salvation by grace in Christ Jesus.
"But, this one thing is everything!
"Regardless, then, of our circumstances...no matter what the Lord in His wisdom and grace sends us, we say, "Thanks, Lord! Thanks for everything. Thou art good!" Joyfully, full of hope, in the confidence of faith, we live new, holy lives of thanksgiving to God's praise. In everything! "One day soon we will be giving thanks in everything in glory! That will be glory, indeed!"