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Thursday Thoughts: “Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude”

on May 8, 2014

{{Information |Description= New Orleans: Thank you message in the grotto of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church; added by those for whom prayer or miracles were granted |Source= Photo by Infrogmation |Date= 15 October 2007 |Author= InfOur Ladies Bible Fellowship at church has started studying Scripture that has to do with gratitude, along with Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ excellent book, Choosing Gratitude. For the next several Thursdays, I will share what we are learning. It’s been a great study so far. I encourage you to read the book! Today’s focus is chapter 2. You can read about our study of chapter 1 here.

Oswald Chambers said, “The thing that awakens the deepest well of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven sin.”

Nancy discusses the truth that “unavoidable guilt, plus undeserved grace, should equal unbridled gratitude” (p. 35). We are all guilty of sin against a holy God, yet God gives us grace upon grace. Not only did he send His Son Jesus to die and take the guilt, power, and the ultimate consequence (hell) of sin away, but He also gives us grace each day to fight that lingering sin nature with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead! This grace should cause us to overflow in gratitude!!

But it doesn’t always, does it? I know gratitude doesn’t overflow from me at all times! For those of us who have grown up in Christian homes or have been saved for a very long time, Nancy’s words on page 34 are very apt: “Some of us cannot remember a time when we did not know these things. But have we lost the wonder of what it all means?”

I think part of our problem is that we lose sight of our guilt. We take God’s grace for granted. Instead, we need to daily ponder on our guilt (but not wallow in it!). Even more importantly, we need to ponder on God’s grace to us. The Gospel should be actively remembered and effective in our lives every day!

This chapter also discussed a consecrated time in our Sunday worship in which we give thanks–the Lord’s Supper. Interestingly, one of the other terms for the Lord’s Supper (or Communion) is “Eucharist.” This term actually means “the giving of thanks.” What an opportunity to remember our guilt, remember God’s grace, and overflow with gratitude both personally and as a body of believers! Yet we often (I know I do) “perform” this “ritual” simply out of routine with no forethought. Our church body participates in the Lord’s Supper the first Sunday of every month, and I want to make the most out of this time of worship and giving of thanks by preparing my mind and heart ahead of time. I’ve recently started reading select passages of Scripture either the night before or the morning of to do so. {Is there anything you do specifically to prepare your heart for the Lord’s Supper? If so, please share below in the comments!}

Finally, we did a quick study of 2 Corinthians 8-9. If you’re looking to read about grace, look no further! The Greek word for grace (charis) is mentioned ten times in these two chapters!

Basically, Paul is writing to the Corinthians, encouraging them to show their gratitude for God’s grace by their generosity in giving. He lifted up the Macedonian churches as examples. Below is my summary of 2 Cor 8:2. Notice that God’s grace was the source of their joy (in affliction) and their generosity (in poverty):

God gave the Macedonians grace, which was evidenced in

their abundant joy in the midst of severe affliction

and an overflow in a wealth of generosity in the midst of extreme affliction.

In 2 Cor 8:9, Paul points to Christ’s grace to the Corinthians in becoming poor so they might become rich as the motivator for their own generosity:

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Of this verse, Paul Barnett (NICNT) says,

Since we are made “rich” by Christ’s grace—in both salvation and gifts—the appropriate response can only be our generosity to others. This is the message of these two chapters. Grace begets grace!

Chapter 9 of 2 Corinthians goes on to talk about giving cheerfully. The Apostle Paul reminded them that God enriches believers “to be generous in every way” in order for us and those to whom we are generous to give gratitude to God (v. 11). God gives grace to us, so we can give generously to others, so they can show gratitude to God! It is an endless cycle! Generosity should be an evidence of our gratitude to God for his grace.

Has God shown you abundant grace? Are you characterized by responding to Him and others with gratitude? Are you characterized by generosity? We should be! Let us be characterized by gratitude and generosity in remembrance of our great guilt and in response to God’s great grace!

{On Thursdays, I share some thoughts about what God is teaching me in my various roles as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a pastor’s wife.}

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One response to “Thursday Thoughts: “Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude”

  1. […] Our Ladies Bible Fellowship at church has started studying Scripture that has to do with gratitude, along with Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ excellent book, Choosing Gratitude. For the next several Thursdays, I will share what we are learning. It’s been a great study so far. I encourage you to read the book! Today’s focus is chapter 3. You can read about chapter 2 here. […]

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