Gratefulness for the Gospel

Paul opens his letter to the Colossians with a thanksgiving prayer for two things: the Gospel and the believers in Colossae. Often even true Christians can lose their passion or gratefulness for the Gospel, and yet this ought to be the mainstay that undergirds our Christian sense of joy, mission and piety. Can we honestly say with Paul that we continually praise the Lord for His Gospel of grace and His saving work in our life? We should. Paul reminds us of the dire circumstances from which we were saved from and the gratefulness this should produce. In vv. 13-14 he writes, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Sweet redemption! Do you remember your first love? The knowledge of what Christ did for us and how much we continually need Him should bring us to our knees with thanksgiving, great joy and humility, “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints of light” (Col 1:12 ESV). One helpful exercise to cultivate such thankfulness and praise for the Gospel is to remember how we were brought to faith in Christ. We often call this our testimony.[1]

So get out a pen and paper, or sit down at your computer, and begin to write out your testimony (we’ll limit this to our conversion experience for in the broadest sense this can apply to ALL that the Lord has done in our life). This will serve to bring God’s incredible grace to mind not only to increase our thanks but also to help refine your knowledge of His work in your life so you can more readily share the Gospel with others.

I share my own condensed testimony with you here, not to boast, but as an example, recognizing our stories will all be as unique as we are but also with a strong commonality as we are all saved by the same Lord:

“I was born and raised in a nominal Christian family. Though my parents were nominal, or cultural Christians, that did not stop me from being influenced in a positive way towards the Gospel. Many folks consider it a privilege to be led to Christ through some type of “Damascus road experience” after having blatantly pursued an outward life of sin, and can pinpoint their conversion to a precise day, hour and second. Certainly such conversions are powerful witnesses and testimonies to God’s grace and work in the world, however, this was not my experience. For me the transition appeared as much more progressive.

In the parable about of the vineyard workers (Matt 20) these ‘Damascus road conversions’ could be considered those hired at 5 o’clock. Responding to God’s providential care at a young age I was a worker called at the 9th hour. Though the attitude of the early workers is portrayed negatively, in practicality it is a blessing to be called early and it is a privilege to know Christ from a young age and have longer to get to know Him. I count it as God’s wonderful grace that I was positioned in a place where I could respond to the Gospel early in life and have the opportunity to share in His work and experience His blessings. In fact, I can never remember not knowing the Lord’s presence in my life and count that all grace (Ps 22:10b). Through the Lord’s love He surrounded me with believers, a Biblical church and solid mentors whom the Holy Spirit used to lead me into a lifesaving relationship with Jesus. In 1995 I publically professed my faith in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins and was baptized. During my childhood I was kept from certain outward forms of sin which other youth succumbed to. While not perfect, the Lord kept me close to Him and built me up in the most holy faith and gave me a desire to delight in and follow Him, something which I have done ever since. As I have matured in my faith I have grown in my awareness of my own sin and the sin of this world and the need for a Saviour. This, and the knowledge of grace, continues to produce the fruit of humility as I declare, ‘I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Saviour,’ who working through me, can do immeasurably more than I could ever hope or accomplish, for His glory. Amen.”

May our testimonies increase our grateful praise and humility!

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

[1] Upon reflection, if you discover there is no proof that you have ever responded to Christ, hence why v.12 makes little sense to you, would you respond to the Gospel today?