Twice today I heard the dreaded “C” word. Someone I talked to lost his relatively young brother to pancreatic cancer a few days ago. Someone else recently got a diagnosis of a rare form of the disease. Her tumors inside are growing like crazy. I always say the same thing. Stupid disease.
How excited can you get about the Thanksgiving holiday when it seems that everywhere you turn you learn someone has cancer? Or maybe some other trial for that matter? Where does praise come from when the circumstances of life do little to nothing to promote the giving of thanks?
I turn to Ephesians 1:3-14. There Paul expresses his own praise for certain entirely compelling, never changing, stunningly beautiful spiritual blessings in the heavenly places. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he says, for these things.
What things? I’m glad you asked. It may be that you are dealing with circumstances right now not particularly conducive to thanksgiving and you need a praise booster of sorts. If you are in Christ, then these things are true of you and provide consistent fodder for praise no matter what you face in your every day circumstances.
Election – He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. You can give thanks to God that before time began He set His affection on you and chose you to belong to His covenant people (v. 4).
Sanctification – He chose us that we might be holy and blameless before Him (v. 4). He who began a good work in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6).
Adoption – He predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of His will (v. 5). We’ve been made children of God with all the rights and privileges that belong to His family. Behold, what manner of love that we should be called the children of God and such we are (1 John 3:1).
Redemption/Justification – He bought us out of the slave market of sin and changed our legal status such that we are forgiven for all our sins and have the righteousness of Christ now imputed to our account (v. 7).
Glorification – He sealed us with the promised Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it. So certain is this blessing that when Rom. 8:30 says, those whom he predestined he also called and those whom he called he also justified and those who he justified he also glorified, Paul uses the perfect tense for glorified, indicating that tough it is a future reality yet to be experienced it is a done deal! Our glorification as believers is as good as done even while we wait for the promise to be fulfilled.
No wonder Paul concludes in Eph. 1:14 that all these things compound to the praise of his glory.
So I say to you, whether you have heard the “C” word today or some other blast of bad news, give thanks. These truths of your position and state in Christ Jesus never change, never fail. They are worthy of our daily and undying praise and thanksgiving.