“God’s purpose and plan in all this was that we should bring the praise and honour of His glory, that is, that we who first focused, hoped and trusted in Christ the Messiah would praise and honour the glory of the grace that has saved us and be committed to exulting in His glorious attributes.” (Ephesians 1:12)
One of the secrets of a blessed life, and a key to opening doors of freedom and Godly increase throughout one’s days, is to be thankful. I have even heard atheists talk of being “thankful.” As for me however, I ask: “How can I be thankful unless I am thanking somebody for having granted me something that I treasure and appreciate?” If I am thanking “nature,” or “circumstance,” I am not being thankful, I am merely appreciative of the fact that circumstances have left me better off in some dimension or other.
If a person gives me something, from as little as a glass of water to as much as risking their life to save mine, I look them in the eye and say, “Thank you!” Giving thanks is to warmly appreciate how somebody wilfully chose to gain something and own something that they wanted to give me, and then did so. Whether it is a little or a lot, they have given of themselves. The size of the gift, in that respect, is utterly irrelevant. I say “Thank you!” for things great or little.
God however, has gone to the ultimate parameters of self sacrifice in order to bless us with the ultimate parameter of giving. When we think of the Passion of Christ, we tend to see it in a sanitised religious sense, and the pain and anguish He suffered is something we sing and meditate about, but find it hard to empathise or sympathise with.
If we, as Christians, truly understood our status before our conversion, and truly understand our status now “in Christ,” a complete renewal of attitude towards praising and thanking God for what He has done would sweep over us all. Our “lostness” in the sight of God, His heaven and eternity was deep and profound, and still is for millions of people outside of Christ. Ephesians refers to that condition as being utterly “without hope.” Equally, our “foundness” in Christ is so deep and profound that I shudder at the superficiality I have engaged with in matters of relating to God for the last forty five years. Relationship with Christ is deep, wide and as broad as anyone can imagine. It cost Him so very much to forge a friendship with us that deals with our sin, and makes us righteous. The gift is so phenomenal that saying “Thank you!” seems paltry in light of the gift that is so extravagant.
Thankfulness and praise, falling prostrate before Him to express our true thoughts and feelings about what Christ accomplished, is an embedded and utterly integrated factor of the Christian’s life. It is an internal self developed frame of mind to adore Him, be devoted to Him, and then to find the words to express one’s feelings to Him fully. I do not mean to legalistically infer that unless you lie prostrate you cannot worship – God forbid! What I am saying is that thankfulness and praise for God’s kindness towards us, and true worship must contain a sense of awe and amazement. We need to ask God for revelation that facilitates us seeing Him as He really is, then we would not need addresses on true worship, we would be lost in doing it.
This is the entire purpose and end of being predestined to the eternal inheritance of the believer – Ephesians 1:12 says so. I see two pointed meanings in verse 12. I perceive that the praise of the very glory of God, in his grace and goodness, might be discovered and made known to the true believers, just as it is seen in election, redemption, justification, pardon, adoption, regeneration, and eternal salvation. However, I also see that the believing Christian should praise and glorify Him on account of these things, by ascribing it all to his initiating grace, and nothing of themselves, no, not even the choice they made to trust Christ to save them. It is in this praise, that results from the realisation that the saving process is all of His plan and implementation, that the Christian, from the depth of His being gives Him thanks for all his benefits; by ordering His lifestyle aright as becomes the Gospel; and by doing all things with a view to his glory.
The whole machinery of God’s active salvation in our lives took off the day we chose to believe in Christ as our Saviour. Ever increasing revelation, faith and commitment To God and His will will bring an ever increasing insight to the very attributes of God. We will come to understand just who and what He is more and more. The depth and breadth of God’s love, power, and grace will come to dominate our characters, and we will be all the better for it. People will take note that you have been with somebody special. Christians will know that you have been with Jesus.
The exaltation of God and His grace is to be experienced oozing out of our characters and personalities. That will cause you and others to praise the glory of His grace.