Like you, each Thanksgiving season I’m made all the more aware of the great things I have to be thankful for. Like you, I always sense I have more to be thankful for than the average man. I was born into a godly family, have had godly mentors my entire life, married a beautiful and godly wife, have three incredible children who love Jesus, extended family on both sides who love Him the same, am part of a Jesus-loving, Gospel-centered church, have life-long friends, and my needs are constantly met by a good and gracious God. Yet at the end of the day, these are not the eight things I’m most thankful for.
The eight things I’m most thankful for have to do with the ONE thing I’m most thankful for: my Salvation in Christ! Each thanksgiving I now take the time to consider eight concepts from what theologians call the “order salutis,” or Order of Salvation (Rom. 8:29-30). The Order Salutis covers the way in which we are saved by and to Jesus Christ – the nine things that are all part of the ONE thing I’m most thankful for. I thought I’d offer a one to two sentence description of each in case you’d like to express your THANKS to God this Thanksgiving for that ONE thing – your Salvation:
1. I’m thankful that before creation, God chose to bring me to faith in Christ, not because of any goodness in me, but because He alone is good (Election). Undeserving. Unalterable. Unbelievable! I’M THANKFUL. (Eph.1:3-6)
2. I’m thankful that the Father called me to Himself, through faithful preaching of the Gospel over time, and through the preaching of the Gospel at a specific time in the summer of 1989 (Gospel Call). He called me before I called to Him. His Word. His call. His time. I’M THANKFUL. (Eph.1:7-10)
3. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit opening my ears to hear and understand the preaching of the Gospel, drawing me to the Father through it (Inward Call). Irresistible. Irreplacable. Incredible! I’M THANKFUL. (Eph.1:7-10)
4. I’m thankful that God has brought me from a place of spiritual death to spiritual life, changing my heart – something I couldn’t do for myself (Regeneration). He’s taken my heart that would never choose Him, and given me a heart that could never not choose Him. Prevenient. Powerful. Phenomenal! I’M THAKFUL. (Eph.1:7-10)
5. I’m thankful for my conversion – that by God’s grace my heart has been changed, I’ve been gifted the will to believe and repent (Conversion = Faith + Repentance), and my desires and affections are new and being renewed day by day. Conviction. Contrition. Change. I’M THANKFUL. (Eph.1:13-14)
6. I’m thankful that the righteousness of Jesus Christ has been gifted to me, and that God the Father sees me, in Christ, as He sees Him (Justification). I am accepted by God and shown the affection He shows His Son. O MY. O, how can it be. O, it’s too good to be true. O, it is good, good news! I’M THANKFUL. (Eph.1:11-12)
7. I’m thankful that God has saved me, and that He continues to save me (Sanctification), and conform me into the image of His Son. I’m looking more and more like Jesus each day. I’m looking more and more like the One I look to. Like Him. By Him. For Him. I’M THANKFUL. (Eph.1:11-12)
8. I’m thankful that one day Jesus will return, make my body like His resurrected body, make me to fellowship with all the saints from all of time, and make me to enjoy Him forever in a new heaven and earth (Glorification). Everlasting. Elated. Extatic! I’M THANKUL. (Eph.1:11-1)
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