Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Enter with Thanksgiving (Psalm 100)

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name" (Ps. 100:4).

Paul exhorts all believers in 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 to “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” One of the most important duties, and privileges, of a Christian is to give thanks to God. Too often we neglect this duty because we become entrenched in our own concerns and forget that we live by God’s mercy. Psalm 100 reminds us of our need to thank God for creating us, redeeming us, and preserving us.

Calvin commented that very few people seriously acknowledge that they are indebted to God for their very existence. “Although, when hardly put to it, they do not deny that they were created out of nothing; yet every man makes a god of himself, and virtually worships himself, when he ascribes to his own power what God declares belongs to Him alone,” Calvin wrote. When we fail to acknowledge and thank God for creating and sustaining us, we set ourselves up as gods, neglecting to humble ourselves before our maker by giving Him the praise due Him. The proper response of God’s people, therefore, should be to forsake such idolatrous attitudes and give God the glory and thanksgiving for His creation.

The psalmist also directs us to remember the redemption provided by God. God alone is responsible for renewing His image in the elect. “Believers are the persons whom the prophet here declares to be God’s workmanship, not that they were made men in their mother’s womb, but in that sense in which Paul, in Ephesians 2:10, calls them, the workmanship of God, because they are created unto good works which God hath before ordained that they should walk in them,” Calvin wrote. “Still the majority of men do not hesitate to claim for themselves all the praise of the spiritual life. Else what mean the preachers of free will, unless it be to tell us that by our own endeavors we have, from being sons of Adam, become the sons of God?” Because the regeneration of sinners only comes from the hand of God, believers should not credit themselves for so great a work but are bound to thank God for the salvation of their souls. Such thanksgiving should not be neglected but made manifest every day of our lives.

How does belief that your redemption was based on your own free choice steal praise due to God? Did your own inherent goodness enable you to trust Christ, or was it because God changed your sinful heart enabling you to have faith in Him? Thank God today for giving you the grace to believe in Christ Jesus.