Friday, 21 October 2016
…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Ephesians 5:20
These words are logically tied to the preceding verse –
“…speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
As we are making melody in our hearts to the Lord, we are to be “giving thanks always.” One of the great errors of humanity is ingratitude. When we fail to give thanks for each and every kind blessing bestowed upon us, we fall into error. This is then reflected in a degradation of our relationship with God. Eventually, our hearts become darkened to the things of God –
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:20, 21
It is so easy to ask for blessings, but we then often fail in being grateful for those things we receive. Instead of this, we need to continuously be thankful for what we have, and pour out our hearts concerning those things we lack. And our thanks are to be “to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is a strong emphasis here in both expressions. God the Father is the Fount of all blessing, and He is rightfully exalted through the thanks that we return to Him. But, each of these thanks is to be given “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is Christ who makes the path back to God the Father for us.
The ingratitude mentioned in Romans 1 is an ingratitude which is directed towards “His eternal power and Godhead.” In order to truly be grateful for those things we enjoy, we are to be thankful to God though the One who caused these things to come into existence, and who continues to sustain them even now. This is Jesus Christ (see John 1:1 & Hebrews 1:3, for example). Further, in Jesus Christ, we are brought into son-ship with God the Father. Therefore, He is to be the One named in all of our thanks and praises to Him. This sentiment is found again in Colossians 3:17 –
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
A portion of it is expanded upon in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 as well –
“Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Life application: Being grateful to God for our many blessings is not to be overlooked. Even in times of distress – of heart or of body – we should continue to demonstrate thankfulness. In so doing, we are acknowledging His sovereign hand on us in all circumstances.
Lord God, give us hearts which are grateful for each and every blessing that comes our way. Help us not to forget all that You have done for us and thus let a bitter root of ingratitude well up in us. May we never assume that anything we have is deserved, but rather, that You have granted grace to us through Your kind and open hand. With this spirit of gratitude, we will thank You for all that comes our way, and we will do it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.