Last week we looked at joy’s foundation in the lives of those who trust Christ. We saw that the primary reason for joy is the astonishing fact of our salvation. Today we’ll begin to examine how joy can grow to permeate all of life. As the title briefly states it, joy grows where gratitude takes root; and, if you’ve been born again, you have a thousand reasons to be thankful. Let me mention just four reasons for living a grateful life, all of which are based upon salvation.
We ought to be thankful to the Lord because of what He has saved us FROM. All of us have sinned, and not by accident. We have actively rebelled against God. By virtue of that, we deserve to be under His wrath in this life, and in hell after we die. But He chose to pour out His wrath upon His own Son, and deliver from hell all those who trust Christ. Thank God!
But that’s not all! We also can live a life of gratitude because what He has saved us TO. He hasn’t simply delivered us from wrath and hell, but He has saved us into a love relationship with Him here, followed by heaven forever. Thank God!
A third reason for being grateful to God is HOW He has saved us. We didn’t do anything to earn our salvation. As Scripture says, we are saved “by grace, through faith;” and even this faith is not something we conjured up, for it too “is a gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9). God saves people by His own initiative, through His own sacrifice, and by His own grace. It’s a gift! Thank God!
Finally, we can live in an unending flow of thankfulness because of WHY God has saved us. Scripture again is clear on this subject: our salvation is entirely for the glory of God. As we occasionally recite at First Baptist, “God saved us by His grace, from His wrath, for His glory.” If you are a Christian, God saved you so that you could display His glory. This means that your life has an eternal meaning that magnificently transcends the temporal and visible realm. You are alive to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!
And how do you do that? John Piper, author and preaching pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, states it most succinctly: “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him.” As a Christian, whether you are eating or working, playing or worshiping – indeed, in everything! – make it your aim to be fully satisfied in the presence of God, Who is with you and in you.
Indeed, the most gratifying experience any human being can have is to live in the glory of God; and that is why God saves people. Christians get to live in the glory of God, and for the glory of God. The whole universe can’t contain His glory; but, if you’re born again, you have the astonishing privilege of living in His glory. Thank God!
Next week: Complaining – That Joy-Killing Sin