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Pure Gratitude

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Pure Gratitude

7 minuten leestijd

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Rev. M. Heerschap (1911-1993)

Many are the reasons to be thankful, the more so where the sins of land and people reach unto the heavens! In the words of the apostle in the above text, he says, “In every thing give thanks,” and then he wants this to take place as it is required, in the proper manner, at the proper place, and with the proper intention, thus, not in a legal manner but in an evangelical manner.

Because man, by nature, is incapable of true spiritual good, no true gratitude can be found in him. With the benefits granted by the Lord, we who are without God cannot end in God because we are blind to the fact that because of sin we have forfeited everything. Therefore, the fact that all things do remain as they still are is no cause for astonishment. It also remains a deep mystery for the spiritually blind person that God does with His own as it pleaseth Him. He can make the warmth of the sun a judgment in times of drought. He can, by giving too much rain, destroy that which He at first had permitted to grow. He can bestow blessings in all things, but also punishments. It is sad that man, by nature, has so little realization of his total dependence upon the Lord. Therefore, the apostle does not intend to bring true and pure gratitude upon a legal ground, with virtue and duties.

What is, then, true and pure gratitude? It is humiliation. As a fruit of grace, it is the exercise of those who fear the Lord. Through the enlightening of the understanding, they not only perceive the gift of God in all things but also that these gifts are bestowed upon them by a benevolent God who is not obligated to them for anything. Through this enlightening of the understanding and the renewing of the heart, there is a hearty desire for the Lord, to end in Him with all things. The humble confession of that people is, “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto?” (2 Samuel 7:18). There is, then, not only a readiness and willingness to bring an offering to the Lord according to the prosperity each has received from the Lord, but especially that the Lord might be glorified in all His benefits toward them.

The Lord, according to this text, wills to be served. He observes narrowly as to whether He is served in spirit and in truth. The Lord does not want to be served with a self-willed religion, nor with a few virtues and duties with which man thinks to please God, or with lip service wherein we use the word gratitude while our hearts are far from honoring Him. No, the Lord is angry with those who, under the semblance of godliness, live in sin and by so doing cause His great Name to be despised, dishonored, and reviled.

True gratitude, which is according to the will of God in Christ Jesus, comes from the Lord as a blessing of the covenant of grace. It is a work of the Triune God. It is the fruit of faith in a holy conversation, worked through the Holy Spirit. There can also be a natural gratitude for such benefits as being delivered from troubles, sickness, and other circumstances of life, but this gratitude is the benefit of common grace, not of a special grace. It has an earthly and temporal character, and we continue in these gifts and benefits, but we do not end in the Benefactor.

True gratitude has a heavenly character. It causes the soul to be inwardly broken and filled with humility—in true gratitude one may exercise secret communion with God. It is the fruit of the Spirit which, in submissiveness and unity with God’s will, bows before the Lord in true confession of guilt, acknowledging the deeds of the Lord. There is a fleeing from and hating of sin and a loosening of the bands of wickedness. Instead of hard thoughts, there are good thoughts of the Lord. Then the smallest gift in nature and in grace is great; then prosperity and adversity are beheld in an entirely different light.

Is it, then, not a precious benefit when the heart is filled with true spiritual gratitude? Is there not a great difference between natural and spiritual gratitude? Natural man can have only himself in view, but the spiritual man has God’s honor in view. The first is from beneath, and the other is from above. The first cannot make itself loose from the earth, and the other comes from above and returns above. The first is an impression which is only on the outside, but the other is inward spiritual heart work. With the first we remain strangers of Christ and the covenant of grace, but the other is the fruit of the seeking love of God in Christ Jesus.

If we may now search our own heart with the truth, how do things then stand with us? What has the Lord been for us in the seasons of the year which now lie behind us? Has He not walked among us with His Word from Sabbath to Sabbath? What have we done with these benefits? Have we lacked anything for this time state? Is it, then, not necessary to consider and to acknowledge the Lord in humility for all the good of His hand? Whether it is prosperity or adversity, it is all given unto us out of His hand. No matter how difficult it is, even for a child of God, to be thankful in prosperity and to be patient in adversity, how much more so this is true when a person is still in his natural state.

Our Thanksgiving Days have become formal and dry because there is no desire for the true gratitude and for pardoning grace so that sin might be blotted out and the sinner reconciled by God with God. A spirit of deep sleep lies over us, and who mourns because of this? Satan keeps us busy with anything and everything so that we will not become aware of the spiritlessness of the times. How is it, then, with us if we continue living without grace in a false rest? Oh, what a great responsibility we have to bear when we have been blessed with outward benefits and have received so many callings in our life. The Lord has made Himself free from us, and it will be a great disappointment if we must fall into the hands of a holy and righteous God. Therefore, make haste and fall at His feet before it becomes eternity. May the Lord bless the truth of Thanksgiving Day to our heart so that there may be labor at the throne of grace. “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart.”


Our Thanksgiving Days have become formal and dry because there is no desire for the true gratitude and for pardoning grace so that sin might be blotted out and the sinner reconciled by God with God.


You who are bowed down in the dust and as sinners acknowledge that you have forfeited all, may you observe the good of His hand. You who are unworthy in yourselves, exalt your King and praise His Name! Make mention of His wonders with humility and reverence, night and day. Your King is so worthy. For you who in yourselves are nothing, the words of this text are especially applicable: “In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van donderdag 1 november 2012

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

Pure Gratitude

Bekijk de hele uitgave van donderdag 1 november 2012

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

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