Abounding in Thanksgiving

2 Chronicles 29:31 “Then Hezekiah answered and said, “Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the LORD, come near, and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD.” So the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.”

A pastor friend gave a message recently that was focused on “Continuing in Christ.” Within the message Pastor Garness made a statement that resounded in me, “Abounding in thanksgiving is the evidence of the one who abounds in Christ“.

As I considered this statement, I thought of all the ones I know of who are filled with the Holy Spirit and I can say that thanksgiving is certainly a trait evident in everyone who knows and walks with Jesus. Look throughout history, regardless of the people or country of origin, the Lord incites a heart of thankfulness in those who know Him, who know they have received something of great value.

Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began his rule over Judah. His desire to cleanse the Temple and restore worship to the One True God caused quite a stir among the people. The process of change from a society that had allowed idolatry to weed its way into their lives back to the return of worship to the Lord was one that took a few steps worth noting.

Sanctification

The process of sanctification is an Old and New Testament concept. The word “sanctify” or “sanctification” is derived from Latin words sanctus (holy) and facere (to make) In other words, the word “sanctify” means to make something or someone become holy. Without digging too far into covenant theology, a brief review of Covenant theocracy reminds us of how we might approach the Throne of God and how we then can commune with God thereafter. George Turnbull, the scottish philosopher, theologian, and teacher once said, “Only a holy people can come into God’s presence and only a holy people can live in communion with God.

The people of Judah had turned from God to worshipping idols, recognizing the moral dilemma of his people, Hezekiah called for the restoration of true worship and the focal point was the Temple of the Lord. The priests first had to go through a ritualistic process of purifying themselves and then the people could come forward with burnt offerings that were intended to reflect their repentance of sin.

Today, if we want to approach the throne of God, we too must come with a heart of repentance. We no longer must bring a burnt offering, Jesus has already fulfilled this role perfectly. We must only come to Jesus and accept His offering that He made on behalf of us already. We may not approach the throne of God, without the sacrifice, even if we had the capacity to do so, we would be dead if we attempted such a thing. If we try to bypass Jesus or make Him out as something other than who He has revealed, we negate the sacrifice and come solely by our own measure of goodness, as sinners this would be a critical error.

Once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the expectation is that we walk with Him in holiness. If we continue in sin after we have already committed our lives to Him, we only lie to ourselves and the truth is not in us. We cannot have fellowship with Him on a daily basis and live in sin, even if we have been sanctified by the blood of Christ, our fellowship with Him can’t be founded in rebellion. The grace of God is quick to restore the one who recognizes their sin and repents, the Spirit of God quickly draws near and our walk with Him becomes sweet again….it is by this measure of grace we have much to be thankful for.

Hebrews 7:18,19 “For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”

Consecration

To be consecrated is to be declared Holy. If sanctification is the process, consecration is the final result. We cannot declare ourselves holy, that judgement is reserved only for the one who originally declared us guilty of sin. Jesus made it very clear that to judge another is to essentially make a determination of someone else’s position of consecration before God, we would be placing ourselves in a role as God if we were to do so.

To be consecrated in the Old Testament was determined by the ceremonial law. There was a measure of accountability given by other priests who interpreted the law and held others to the standard that God ordained.

Today, our declaration of consecration is made by Jesus.

Romans 8:1,2 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

No more condemnation

  • Sin brings shame.
  • Sin places us in a position of enmity(actively opposed) before God.
  • Sin places us under judgement.

The perfect sacrifice of Christ must become our sacrifice before the Father. Jesus has made a way for us to not only approach His throne, but to walk in fellowship with God.

Walking according to the flesh is to live by our own strength. When we attempt to become righteous by our actions, we live in the flesh. When we try to reinterpret God based off how we want to see Him, we live by our own understanding.

The Lord has revealed Himself through Jesus Christ, Jesus was fully God and fully man. In other words, Jesus came in the flesh as a man but His spirit was fully God.

We are not God, but He was promised that if we trust Him for our lives, the same spirit that was in Christ will be in us. We can abide with Him now, like a husband and wife can become one flesh, we can enjoy the spiritual union with Christ.

For those who have experienced this spiritual union with God, out from their hearts comes forth thanksgiving.

God’s glorious nature fills us with His joy, peace, and love. We recognize the great value these spiritual gifts have become and we rejoice.

Romans 8:5,6 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

What emanates from your life?

The one who walks with Christ shows forth Christ-like affection. The one who walks according to the flesh, the attributes of the flesh are made known.

Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

The way we walk in fellowship with God is by living according to His law. The 10 commandments is the framework by which we reflect our love back to Him. Loving God looks like loving others, this is the summation of the moral law.

Psalm 118:19 “Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord,
Through which the righteous shall enter.”

Walking according to the moral law is to walk in righteousness. What seems like constraint from the outside looking in, is freedom to all who go there. Listen to the testimony of those who have gone before, their praise and worship echoes throughout history and reminds us of the goodness of God now and the glory that is to come.

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