To every genuine believer, praise and thanksgiving is innate and spontaneous for the simple reason of the unmerited free gift of salvation. The purchasing prize of the blood of Christ and the consciousness of our former dead state compared to our current position of grace in Christ leaves us in a state of spontaneity in praise and thanksgiving. We are mandated by the verse below to praise God in everything:
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5: 18)
He alone deserves our continual praise and thanksgiving. For us Christians, praising God should be deliberate and spontaneous. It should be in and out of season because times and seasons do not change God.
Why Praise and Thanksgiving?
Our praise and thanksgiving to God, I believe, enthrones Him in our hearts and remind us who He is to us. Our genuine praise and thanksgiving puts us in a position of not taking the glory which only God deserves.
First of all, we need to remind ourselves of the fact that God is God by Himself, and nothing exists without Him, all were created by Him and for Him (Genesis1:1; Colossians 1:16; John 1:1), and be convicted of this truth by faith (Hebrews 11:3). Putting God out of the equation means an empty, dark, formless world without any meaning.
Secondly, the Christian is one who derives all that he is in and through Jesus Christ, thus we cannot help but agree with the Scriptures affirming the undisputable truth that in Him we live and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28). Moreover, cognizant of the finished worked of Christ on the cross of Calvary, we are left with no option than to give in to praise and thanksgiving, seeing that we are what we are in Christ only by His grace and mercy.
A Psalm of Praise
The Psalmist in Psalms 107:1-4 recounts the return of the people of Israel to their Promised Land, after being carried away into exile as a result of their disobedience to God. In that passage, he gives us three compelling reasons why we need to praise God.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
3 And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
- God is good
The first reason why God deserves our praise and thanksgiving is that He is good. The goodness of the Lord is manifested in so many wonderful ways in the lives of His children. First and foremost is the wonderful gift of salvation which is the greatest miracle any man can ever receive from God. Because of His goodness, salvation was not limited to the Jews but extended to the gentiles, including us who have no connection with Jewish lineage, but by grace we all have access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18). The truth about God’s goodness is, even in ‘bad’ times, He remains good, for He works all things together for good to them that love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). God’s goodness is not dependent on our perception or on our circumstances, He is good because that is His nature.
- His mercy endures forever
The second reason mentioned by the psalmist is ‘His mercy endures forever.’ There is a commonly used phrase, ‘tamper justice with mercy’ which to me aptly demonstrates the unmerited kindness of God towards us in Christ. We were in a helpless situation as a result of the ‘crime’ we committed in Adam when he disobeyed God (sinned) in the Garden of Eden. We all deserved death by law if justice were to be applied. The consequences of sin is death, but God showed us mercy by sending His Son Jesus to die in our place. And now we can boldly say we are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) if we acknowledge that we are sinners and He alone can save us. Being born again is not by works but purely by grace and mercy.
- We are the redeemed of the Lord
Another reason why we need to praise and thank God is because we are the redeemed of the Lord. The psalmist here said let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Say what? That the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever. This is another reminder to the saved that God is the reason we are saved. This verse goes further to indicate from whom we were redeemed – our arch enemy, the devil. Just as Israel was scattered in exile and banished from their promised land through their unfaithfulness to God, we were sold to the enemy through the sin of our first parents. Paul records, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—“. And as a result, “were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2::1-3). We could never have been able to buy ourselves back to freedom. But Jesus bought us back (redeemed us) with a price – His blood!
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7)
The fourth verse of this psalm graphically paints the situation which some of the Jewish exiles were in, just as we once were in sin – lost without a sense of direction and purpose in life. No dwelling place, loss of identity and above all failure to know who we were and for what purpose we do exist. In a sense these desolate Israelites were just surviving by breathing in and out, just as we likewise did things by the dictates of Satan. This is the pathetic situation of man in sin; lost and in darkness. Kings, priests and citizens of the kingdom of God, yet living as slaves in another kingdom – belonging to the devil. Praise God we are saved by grace through Christ Jesus!
Beloved kingdom citizens of God, the love of God towards us alone is sufficient reason for spontaneous praise and thanksgiving.
‘Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God’ (1John 3:1).
Moreover, the last chapter of Hebrews instructs us to be in continual praise and thanks to God as a sacrificial offering.
‘Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.’ (Hebrews 13:15).
This is what makes the difference and not just the amount of money or gifts we give to support the kingdom of God. If this is not done in response (praise and thanksgiving to God) for what He has done, it is purely futile. Jesus being the last and the final sacrifice demands everything be done to the glory of God (Colossians 3:17; 23).
To conclude, like David, our hearts must be steadfast (fixed and firm or resolute) in our praise and thanksgiving to the only true and faithful God.
7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast and confident!
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises [to You]!
8 Awake, my glory!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
9 I will praise and give thanks to You, O Lord, among the people;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
10 For Your faithfulness and lovingkindness are great, reaching to the heavens,
And Your truth to the clouds.
11 Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory and majesty be over all the earth. (Psalms 57:7-11)