by Lee Taylor
Later this month our thoughts will focus on the blessings God has given. Several in our congregation will express gratitude to God in our testimony time. We thank God for our families, our nation and liberty, His provision and protection, His grace during trials, friendships, and our church family. Of course, we are also thankful for our salvation. May I suggest that our salvation deserves more than merely and “add on” thank you?
The Bible teaches that our redemption and forgiveness of sins are “according to the riches of his grace,” (Ephesians 1:7). In our present depraved condition we cannot comprehend completely the depth of His grace. The well of salvation is so deep it will take eternity to explore its fullness. According to Paul, one blessing of being with the Lord in Heaven is, “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Many years ago my theology professor introduced me to an amazing section in the third volume of Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Systematic Theology. That section is called “The Riches of Divine Grace,” and it lists 33 benefits the believer has because of salvation. I was thrilled as I read and pondered those truths. I have read it time and again through the years. As I have studied the Word of God since that time, I have added to that list of blessings. I am confident that I have not found all of them. The child of God indeed has much for which to be thankful.
Space will not allow me to list and explain many of these riches of grace, but I will mention a few. Perhaps you will join with me in thanking God for so great salvation.
God has forgiven us of all sins. His precious blood has cared for all sins (Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14). God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). Christ has forgiven us (Colossians 3:13). This forgiveness includes all sins, past, present and future (Colossians 2:13).
He has freed us from the burden of the law. We are not under the law (Romans 6:14). We are dead to the law and are delivered from it (Romans 7:2-6). This does not mean we are excused from doing what the law prescribes (James 2:8-12). It does mean, however, that we do not follow the law to be accepted and blessed, but because we [are] accepted and blessed.
Christ has redeemed us from sin. Three Greek words express this idea. One word (agorazo) simply means “to buy in the market.” Mankind is in the slave market of sin (John 8:34). Christ entered the slave market, and by shedding His blood He purchased the slave of sin (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23; Revelation 5:9). A similar word (exagorazo) means “to buy out of the market.” This adds the thought of removing from sale. It shows that redemption is once-for-all (Galatians 3:13; 4:5). Once He purchased us from the market of sin, Christ “removed” us from the market. We are His forever! A third word (lutroo) has the idea of “to let loose, set free.” This adds the thought of freeing the slave (Luke 24:21; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Redemption includes the purchase, removal from sale, and setting free of the Christian through the shed blood of Christ.
As unsaved rebels, we were enemies with God. When we trusted Christ, God reconciled us to Himself (Romans 5:10). The war is over. God brings Himself and the sinner together by completely changing the sinner. He is adjusted to God’s holy character. God does not change, but man’s relationship to God changes because of the work of Christ. God has made provision for the entire world to be reconciled to Him (2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 1:20; Romans 11:15). However, reconciliation is effective only for those who are saved (Romans 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5: 18, 20; Ephesians 2:16).
Because of Christ, God has given us citizenship in heaven. In Philippians 3:20 Paul wrote, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” The word translated “conversation” carries the idea of citizenship. We are “pilgrims” on earth (1 Peter 2:11), and “ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20) of our Heavenly King. What glorious joy it brings to know that we are simply biding time while on our way home!
The riches of His grace include the jewel of our partnership with Christ. Paul states, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord,” (1 Corinthians 1:9). The word fellowship has the idea of sharing together, or partnership. We are partners with Him in life (Colossians 3:4), in service (1 Corinthians 3:9; 15:57-58), in suffering (Philippians 3:10), in position (Colossians 3:1), and in prayer (John 14:12-14).
Even the believer who is the poorest in earthly possessions can rejoice that he or she has “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven,” (1 Peter 1:4). That inheritance is a present possession because the believer is a joint heir with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). With time, most earthly possessions diminish in value. Even those that do not can bring no happiness beyond time. On the other hand, our Heavenly possession is eternal (Hebrews 9:15). It is ours forever.
Thank God, He does non give us these “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8) because of our spiritual maturity or progress. Rather, they are infinitely perfect from the very beginning. We do not earn them, but they are fashioned by God alone. These riches are eternal in character, since God planned for our salvation before creation. We can only know the riches of His grace through God’s Word, not by emotional experience. Knowing of them, however, leads to a wonderfully emotional experience of gratitude, adoration and praise. With Paul, we shout in exaltation, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
by Lee Taylor
Original article can be found at http://www.fbcwhitmorelake.org/2012/10/thank-god-for-your-wealth/