Happy Spring! Today is the first day of spring, and that’s certainly something to be thankful for! Especially when the temperature here today was in the 70’s. We celebrated by going out for ice cream cones this afternoon!
My focus for this Thankful Thursday is on the wondrous, amazing and unimaginable gift of love that we have been given by God, in providing a way of salvation for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. You see, we are in need of salvation ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden and ate the fruit that was forbidden to them. God created man perfect and sinless, which was the case until their disobedience caused them to “fall” from sinlessness into sin – which is defined as walking independently from God – going our own way, rather than His. But God foreknew that this would happen, and He, in His great love for us, had a plan for restoration already in the works –
1. I am thankful that God provided a plan for salvation which He revealed all the way back in the garden, right after Adam and Eve sinned. Their relationship with God had changed – they no longer enjoyed continual fellowship with the Father, but there was separation between them – just as there is for each of us, having inherited our sin from Adam and Eve. But God didn’t leave us there. From the beginning, right there in the garden, after the fall, God promised to send a Savior who would pay the price for our sin and would restore us to a right relationship with the Father –
(God speaking to the serpent) “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and betweeen your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.” – Genesis 3:15
The serpent (Satan) would strike the heel of the woman’s offspring (Christ) – this signifies crucifixion (this would be a temporary injury); but Christ would crush Satan’s head – death to sin (a permanent, fatal blow).
God would continue to prophesy about the coming Messiah throughout the Old Testament, which shows me a God of hope, who doesn’t leave His people alone and lost, but reaches out to us with hope.
2. I am thankful that Jesus came to earth, giving up His home in heaven to walk among us –
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” -Isaiah 9:2
(Paul speaking of Christ) “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Phillipians 2:6-7
3. I am thankful that Jesus was a visible testament to us of the Father. He shows us what God is like and gives us an example to follow in our own lives of an obedient life serving God –
“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” -John 1:18
“He who has seen Me has seen the Father. . .” – John 14:9b
4. I am thankful that Jesus Christ went to the cross and died for my sin – and yours –
“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” -Philippians 2:8
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:6-8
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.” -1 Peter 2:24
He became our sin and suffered the wrath of God upon that cross, so that we might be reconciled with God, having our sin debt paid in full by His blood. It is the greatest gift of all time, but it is only yours if you accept it – just as with any gift we might receive. I must reach out and take the gift – believing in my heart that He paid that price for me personally – through no effort of my own, but through His blood –
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9
5. I am thankful that He did not stay dead, but rose again on the third day! He triumphed over death and is alive today!
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.” -Matthew 28:1-6a
It is not a dead and powerless Lord that we serve, but a living and powerful God. You will not find His remains anywhere on the earth, because He arose and conquered death. He completed the job He was sent to do and ascended back to heaven – body and spirit together.
6. I am thankful that He lives today in heaven, interceding for me – and you –
“but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” -Hebrews 7:24-25
7. I am thankful that He will return soon to the earth and that I will spend eternity ( I repeat – forever) with Him in glory, in perfect and complete righteousness. (This really is helpful to remember on those hard days!) –
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” – Matthew 24:30-31
“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” -1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! . . . “
“. . . To Him Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever!” – Revelation 5: 12b & 13b
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