November 22, 2012 in Offbeat
2 Corinthians 4:15 “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”
In a day and age of an entitlement society, in which so many complain that they are not getting enough from others, a day of thanksgiving is in greater need than ever before. However, we also must be clear to whom we are thankful. In our modern America many no longer even recognize God in a simple prayer before their Thanksgiving meal, let alone give thanks, praise, and honor to the one true God of heaven and earth. When a society becomes ungrateful and begins to demand more and more, it is a society on the edge of collapse. Yet, let us first turn our attention to the churches of America before we criticize the general society, for all moral decay begins in the churches and the pulpits before it seeps down into the general populace.
Today churches are filled with complaint and murmuring against God and His Word. There is very little true gratefulness for the Word of God that has been preserved through the ages. If people were truly grateful for the Word of God, then they would fully submit to it. Instead most pastors spend their time in the pulpit criticizing the Scriptures and talking about so called “discrepancies” in the Bible. This causes the people to not believe the Bible, for they are filled with doubt. If the pastors are not criticizing Scripture, then they are busy propagating their personal opinions of what the Scriptures mean instead of teaching the people how to study the Scriptures for themselves. It is possible they do this so that the people may be always dependent on them, much like in the natural realm where so many are dependent on welfare for their sustenance. Such misplaced dependence leads the people to a lack of faith in the Word of God. Then they begin to complain and murmur when God does not do what they think He should do. If they understood the Scriptures they would not err like this.
Pastors should follow the example of the Great Shepherd, Jesus the Christ, for in Luke 24:44-49 we read a very important passage which right in the middle we read, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” This should be the primary goal of any pastor, not to simply get the people to believe his own word. If Jesus the Son of God never said, “just trust me” but always pointed His followers to Scripture and proved that what he was saying was true, then how much more should mere fallen men do the same? As Ephesians 4 makes so very clear, the purpose of the Church is to cultivate the saints unto a full maturity in Christ and not a dependence on any man.
To put it another way, it is the job of pastors and the Church to direct men to a life of faith in the Word of God and all the promises contained therein. Their job is to teach the saint how to read and study the Word of God so that they might come to this life of faith, and in all things to always point to the Scriptures. It is this life of faith that is always the product of a justified saint, for as the Scriptures say, “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). This is the very foundation of the Christian life, a life of faith in the Word of God.
In 2 Corinthians 4:15 Paul states, “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.” This is simply a reference to all of the hardships Paul and the other Apostles had endured so that those in Corinth could hear the Gospel and receive the grace of God. As we receive the grace of God into our lives through faith, and God fulfills His promises to us, we in turn should give God thanksgiving. When we give thanksgiving to God, He receives all the glory, and the bottom line is that God getting all the glory is what it is all about! God is jealous of His glory, and He desires to be glorified by all of His creation. Revelation 4:11 states clearly that all things were created for the pleasure (thelema/desire; will) of God, and therein lies the source of all glory and honor and power in the universe. Therefore, if there is any glory to be given, it is to be given to God; if there is any honor to be given, it is to be given to God; and if there is any power to be given, it is to be given to God alone. This is why all thanksgiving should go to God when we see Him work and keep His promises as recorded in His Word.
I pray that all true believers will turn back to the true foundation of their religion, the Word of God, and renew a firm faith in it. Only then can we say with the psalmist, “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works” (Ps. 26:7).