Grace Filled Gratitude
HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 24
Why can’t the good we do make us right with God, or at least help make us right with him?
Because the righteousness which can pass God’s scrutiny must be entirely perfect and must in every way measure up to the divine law. Even the very best we do in this life is imperfect and stained with sin.
How can you say that the good we do doesn’t earn anything when God promises to reward it in this life and the next?
This reward is not earned; it is a gift of grace.
But doesn’t this teaching make people indifferent and wicked?
No. It is impossible for those grafted into Christ by true faith not produce fruits of gratitude.
Grace Filled Gratitude
Friday, June 9: Colossians 1:13-23
We are not saved by our good works, but we are saved to do good works. The Catechism labels the good works of holy obedience as the “fruits of gratitude.” Obedience is our natural response of gratitude to the revealed, completed and sufficient work of Jesus Christ that reconciles us to the Father, restores us to true human life, and forges us as the embodiment of His will. Grace overflows into gratitude. This means we thank Him for the gifts He has placed in our lives (Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, Ephesians 4:7-16). It also means that we are free to express gratitude as CEO’s in corporate America, as educators in the public schools, as research scientists advancing a clean and healthy environment, as financial planners helping others live wisely, or as doctors treating new infectious diseases. Finally, in Christ we are given the proper motivation to express our gratitude. We do all things in His name and for the praise of His glory: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10; cf. Colossians 3:17). Grace overflows into that kind of gratitude. It is unfortunate, therefore, that people still speak of full-time Christian service in distinction to life in the secular world. The Bible’s vision is better than that. The whole earth belongs to the Lord, everything is ruled by Him, and Satan is a defeated enemy. So, let His grace stir your gratitude in every square inch of life in this world. May your whole life in Christ bear witness to His great work of redemption, restoration and reconciliation of all things (Colossians 1:15-20).
Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn