Joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
Joyously giving thanks to the Father! Well, do we? Do we joyously give thanks to God? And if so, for what reasons do we give thanks?
Paul says here in one of his prison letters that we are to give thanks to the Father because He has qualified (make sufficient, to authorize) us to share in the inheritance of the saints (holy ones) in light. Every one who is born again of the grace of God has the hope of eternal life in the living hope that is Jesus Christ and we also have the hope of the inheritance that we will receive in glory.
All the elect will share in their portion of the inheritance of all things in the eternal state. We will live with Christ eternally and share in everything that He has planned for us. It is only through the grace of God that we can share in this inheritance. In fact, apart from God's grace hell would be 100% populated by every person who has ever lived. God would be perfectly just in pronouncing such judgment on us. However, by His grace and the shed blood of His Son, He rescues us, saves us, and forgives us of all unrighteousness and qualifies us to share in the inheritance and eternal life He has promised.
We tend to only think of being thankful in terms of circumstances. Money, house, job, etc. If these things are plentiful or going well, then we are thankful. If they are not, we become frustrated, or discontented.
Think back to what happened post-9/11. Churches were filled, Bibles were read, spiritual matters suddenly mattered again. Why is it that our thankfulness is measured by our level of comfort? Why is it that when tragedy strikes we fill the pews with fervent prayer and gratitude and worship of God but when things are going well churches become a ghost-town?
Our inheritance as Christians is just as sure and just as certain in unfortunate times and in trails just as it is in favorable and good times. Why is it that we only seem to be thankful when our comfort level is higher?
When we think and meditate on what our true inheritance is as Christians it should so move us to not only be eternally grateful to our God but also should prompt us to live a life that is reflective of that gratitude.
In the Colossian church, things were going well. Paul was thankful for the report he had been given about their faith. They were not doing well because they had great health or wealth. They were not doing well because everything was going perfectly in their lives. No, they were thriving spiritually. Christians can always thrive spiritually despite their circumstances.
You can thrive spiritually even if the bank account runs dry. You can thrive spiritually if you lose a job. You can thrive spiritually if your enemies surround you. Our level of thankfulness to God and our level of spiritual growth and maturity is not dictated by temporal circumstances.
Our level of spiritual joy and growth should find its foundation in and its fuel from our understanding of the eternal life that we possess and the inheritance we look forward to at Christ's return. Our eternal life, our eternal inheritance should not only make us thankful but a true heart of thankfulness to God will always prompt us to live out our faith and continually seek to grow in our knowledge of God and His will for our life.
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9 NASB)
Paul prays that the Colossian believers would be filled (filled to completion, totally controlled by) with the knowledge of God's will by and through spiritual wisdom and understanding. This spiritual wisdom and understanding is both the accumulation of knowledge but also the actual applying of that wisdom in your life and allowing God's Word to transform you daily.
This seeking to be filled with the knowledge of God's and seeing it manifest in your life is the natural by-product of a life that is truly grateful and thankful to God for the eternal life and inheritance that He has qualified us for. Spiritual growth, spiritual joy in Christ is a natural consequence of the person who has been raised from spiritual death unto spiritual life. We need to submit ourselves daily to the Word of God and to the Holy Spirit of God so that we can best demonstrate this living and active faith in our life.
So that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
As we grow in the knowledge of God's will and as we grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding we will also naturally as a result of this, walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. We will walk righteously, holy, and God-centered lives. We will pursue right living and want to be continually sanctified, set apart for God.
This walking in a manner worthy of the Lord will please God in all respects. This doesn't mean you will perfectly live in obedience to God. Rather, it means that your conduct and your overall testimony will be one of obeying God in all areas of your life. You won't serve God in one area but withhold obedience in another. God's will for your life will affect all areas of your life.
Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience, joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. (Colossians 1:11-12 NASB)
This growth in the knowledge of God's will and our growing in all spiritual wisdom and understanding will not only cause us to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord but will also enable us to be steadfast and demonstrate patience in the midst of suffering and trials when circumstances are not what we would want them to be. All of this growth and the benefits that come with it should bring us full circle back to giving thanks to the Father who is the One who ultimately qualifies us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
It is God who by His grace grants us eternal life through the salvation found in His Son, Jesus Christ. It is our Savior, Jesus Christ, who made the sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sin and it is His Holy Spirit who empowers us to live the Christian life and grow in the knowledge of God's will.