The Beginning and the End of It All: The Attitude of Gratitude
“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His mercy is forever” (Psalm 118:1, 29).
Happy Thanksgiving! Psalm 118 begins and ends with giving thanks to the Lord. It provides us with a picture of our lives as followers of Messiah: thanksgiving from start to eternity! Gratitude begins with our life in the Lord as we are grateful for His final sacrifice for our sins. Then, in eternity we’ll have greater gratitude and praise, for we will perfectly see just how “worthy is the Lamb!” For as wretched as we are in our flesh, all who are saved by grace through faith in Messiah must declare: “Thanks be to God who gives the victory through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah!” (1 Cor 15:57).
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., writes, “Entitlement is at the core of narcissism. A society that feels entitled to what it receives does not adequately express gratitude. Just as gratitude is the queen of the virtues, ingratitude is the king of the vices.” I agree, for the Bible teaches that the sin of ingratitude breeds disrespect, first for Adonai, and then for those created in His image.
Adonai’s Necessity for Us is Gratitude
“GIVE THANKS to the Lord…”
“Give thanks” (hodu) is an imperative plural, meaning, all God’s people are to collectively give thanks, for it’s our divine priority. His priority for me is not only in my best interests, but collectively, it’s the healthy testimony of God’s people. Complaining reveals poor spiritual health, but our unity is revealed by our attitude of gratitude. In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Messiah Yeshua. (1 Thess 5:18).
Gratitude is my receipt of His delivery of the gift of grace. It reveals those who are saved by grace through faith, since we’re only grateful for what is graciously given. If I think I’m saved by my works, I’d be ungrateful because I’d think I deserve God’s reward of salvation from my own deeds—but I’m totally lost without His free gift (Rom 6:23).
Humanity’s moral ruin started with a lack of gratitude and glory for God. But gratitude must precede praise, for praise without gratitude is out of dread and not love. Guard your home through glorifying gratitude. Grateful families trusting in Messiah’s sacrificial gift find His grace to be sufficient and victorious.
The Necessity of Thanksgiving
Luke 17:12-19 gives the account of ten lepers who beg Yeshua to be healed. He heals them, but only the Samaritan returns to thank Him. Yeshua replies, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine– where are they? “Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
The Samaritan’s sincere gratitude revealed His saving faith. The nine Jews thought they were entitled to their healing: “We suffered so much, it’s about time that God finally did something!” Those who blame God for their difficulties feel entitled to His deliverance. The ungrateful lepers received physical healing, but they didn’t receive the deeper healing of salvation from sins by grace through faith. Gratitude expresses faith in the grace of God.
But didn’t their healing evidence their “faith” by obeying Yeshua’s words to go to the priests? Their ingratitude reveals it wasn’t faith in Yeshua or His words, but that they were entitled to be healed. They never saw their healing as gracious and unmerited, but rather as their entitlement for their suffering.
All who are healed are divinely healed. They are not saved by their healing, for their saving faith in Yeshua is seen in their gratitude for His grace in healing them. His healing grace is symptomatic of His saving grace.
Those that respond by their works for salvation—whether via bris, immersion, or service— their faith is in their obedience and works, and not in the gracious work of God in Yeshua. For the self-centered, their suffering or service makes them feel entitled to the reward of salvation. They’re totally lost and need to repent and trust in Yeshua! For salvation always produces works, but works never produce salvation!
Adonai’s Nature Toward Us is Good
“… for He is GOOD…”
Moral goodness reflects God’s nature and character. Something can be “beautiful” or true but yet evil and thus, ungodly. There is no one good but God: all He does is good, for He defines whatever is good. His plan for you is good (Gen 50:20), for all things work together for good (Rom 8:28). A man superficially called Yeshua “good,” so Yeshua said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God.” (Matt 19:17). If you’re going to call Yeshua good, you have got to call Him God!
Are we good? As “goodness” summarizes Adonai’s nature (Ex 33:19), so “goodness” is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). By faith in Yeshua, we die to self and live out His goodness by the Spirit’s work. Therefore, to be like Messiah is to be good like Him. If you’re not like Him, you’re not good.
So, how is bad made good? I’m not “good,” but by faith in Yeshua I’m made righteous in Him. I live Him out by daily faith in Him and not in myself. To be a good parent is to be a godly parent—dying to self by faith in His death, and so I have the fruit of the Spirit lived out as a parent, friend, employee, etc. This is the good life!
Adonai’s Nurture of us is Gracious
“… FOR His mercy is forever.”
Our validation of Adonai is through His mercy. “For” isn’t just a second reason to thank Him; it’s why we thank Him for His good nature. His goodness to us is proven through His mercy and nurture of us.
Our salvation from Adonai is by His mercy. It is His promised covenant love for us (Ps 106:45). Salvation is by His eternal mercy; therefore, He saves us forever. The assurance for your soul is not based on your good deeds but upon His unchanging nature, so His mercy is forever.
Our identification with Adonai is through His mercy (Heb 4:16). By faith in Yeshua you have received mercy; therefore, whoever receives mercy, gives mercy. This ministry of mercy is the calling upon Gentile followers of Messiah as they reach out to the Jew first (Rom 11:31). What you have received, you received in order to give!
Do you feel like your gratitude tank is a quart low on mercy and grace for others? Time for a fill up! And when you’re filled to the brim with Him, the result is gratitude to Adonai and graciousness to all others. To know Him is to be grateful, for ingratitude reveals ignorance.