“…the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance.”
Soon we will celebrate that holiday called Thanksgiving. On this day, as children of God, we will go to His house to thank Him for the material riches He has given us in the past year: and above all, for the gift of His beloved Son. However, I do not wish to dwell on the Thanksgiving ”day” in this article. Rather, I would like to say a few things about the thanksgiving our Heidelberg Catechism speaks of. This is an everyday thanksgiving. It is the necessary result of the knowledge of our sins and miseries and our great deliverance. First of all, we must remember that this process of knowing our sins, knowing our Deliverer, and walking in thanksgiving is an everyday occurrence. It is nor a once in a lifetime “experience.” There are some today that would like to have us believe this. Once we turn to God, we live on a higher “plateau” and are “free of sin.” This will come only in heaven. We are earthly creatures with an evil nature and we have to struggle with this every day.
Our catechism leaches us that even though Christ’s death has made complete atonement for our sins, we must still do good works. Scripture teaches us that our works do not save us: “For by grace are ye saved through faith …not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9. Rather, we must walk in God’s law and do everything to His glory to express our gratitude to God; to assure ourselves that we are elect; and to witness to the world around us — especially to our brothers and sisters in the Church.
Isn’t it sad that we are so often afraid to stand up for what we believe among our own brethren in the Church? No one wants to be considered odd — so we go along with the crowd. Is it any wonder that the world mocks our religion and our God, if we do not walk any differently than they?
This applies to the child of God at any age. As children, we must obey our parents and be thankful that God has given us our own schools where we are given an education to God’s glory. We must not take this for granted. As young adults, this calling continues as we start coming in contact with the world around us more in our social life and our jobs. The devil works very hard in young people to tempt them with the “pleasures of sin.” He also does this as we choose our life partner. We must pray for grace to be strong and remember the words of Ephesians 5:11: “…have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” As parents, we are called as wife to be submissive to her husband, and as husband to be the head over his wife. This also refers to being the spiritual head in the home. Our marriages are a picture of Christ’s union with His bride, the church. We are also called to bring forth God’s covenant seed. This is a serious calling — we are the instruments God uses to instruct His covenant seed. We must always be an example to our children and the world about us.
What a tremendous calling this walk of thankfulness is! We would fail if it were not for the grace of God. The catechism says, “God will give his grace and Holy Spirit to those only, who with sincere desire continually ask them of Him, and are thankful for them.” The means by which we do this is prayer. It is the chief part of thankfulness. It is a continual sorrow for sin and a hearty confidence that God will hear and answer our prayer for Jesus Christ’s sake. We are taught to pray for all things necessary for body and soul.
Finally, may God give us grace to “…be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Eph. 5:18-20.
As Thanksgiving Day comes and goes this year, it is good we take time to give God thanks for all His material and spiritual blessings. But let us not forget to make every day of our lives a Thanksgiving Day!