Thankfulness Enriched by Relief

Last Sunday, Ryan Heard preached from Genesis 18-19 and pointed us to the glorious truth that God is both the just judge and the glorious savior.

Read: Genesis 20-21

This Sunday, Pastor Jason Finley will preach from Genesis 20-21 and will encourage us to rejoice in the Lord’s faithfulness to preserve his promise. As you prepare for our Sunday gathering, let this devotional from Milton Vincent lead you to this very rejoicing by reflecting upon the gospel of our salvation.

Reflect: “Thankfulness Enriched by Relief”

The more absorbed I am in the gospel, the more grateful I become in the midst of my circumstances, whatever they may be.

Viewing life’s blessings as water in a drinking cup, I know that I could discontentedly focus on the half of the cup that seems empty, or I could gratefully focus on the half that is full. Certainly, the latter approach is the better of the two, yet the gospel cultivates within me a richer gratitude than this.

The gospel reminds me first that what I actually deserve from God is a full cup churning with the torments of His wrath (Revelation 14:10; Psalm 75:8). This is the cup that would be mine to drink if I were given what I deserve each day. With this understanding in mind, I see that to be handed a completely empty cup from God would be cause enough for infinite gratitude. If there were merely the tiniest drop of blessing contained in that otherwise empty cup, I should be blown away by the unbelievable kindness of God toward me. That God, in fact, has given me a cup (Psalm 116:12-13; Psalm 23:5) that is full of “every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3),” and this without the slightest admixture of wrath, leaves me truly dumbfounded with inexpressible joy. As for my specific earthly circumstances of plenty or want, I can see them always as infinite improvements on the hell I deserve.

When I look at any circumstance that God apportions me, I am first grateful for the wrath I am not receiving in that moment (The empty part of the cup never looked so good!). Second, I am grateful for the blessings that are given to me instead of His wrath. (Life’s blessings, however small, always appear exceedingly precious when viewed against the backdrop of the wrath I deserve.) This two-layered gratitude disposes my heart to give thanks in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and it also lends a certain intensity to my giving of thanks. Such a gospel-generated gratitude glorifies God, contributes to peace of mind (Philippians 4:6-7), and keeps my foot from the path of foolishness and ruin (Romans 1:21-29).

“Thankfulness Enriched by Relief,” in A Gospel Primer for Christians, by Milton Vincent

Sing: Song List for Sunday

1. “The Lord Our God,” by Kristian Stanfill
2. “By Faith,” by Keith & Kristyn Getty
3. “His Mercy Is More,” Arr. Shane & Shane
4. “Christ Be All,” by Grace Worship
5. “Promises,” by Matt Boswell & Matt Papa