In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Last week we began looking at why obedience to God is so valuable and saw that good works give evidence to the truth of our faith. This week I want to show that obedience to God expresses our thankfulness to God.
Thankfulness is not only expressed in words, but also in deeds. How many times has someone thanked you for doing something big for them but then hurt you badly in subsequent days? Their thankfulness didn’t seem quite genuine after all because of the way they lived.
The same principle is at work when we want to say thank you to God for what he has done for us. God has given us an amazing gift in graciously forgiving us for our sins through his son’s death on the cross. We certainly ought to be thankful.
So naturally we should pray and tell God how grateful we are. But we should also seek to show him how thankful we are by living in a way that he would like us to live. In other words, we should be obedient to him. As the Puritan Henry Scudder says: ‘thanks-living is the best way of thanksgiving’.
Paul tells us this in Romans: ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship’ (Romans 12:1). Because of God’s mercy shown to you in Jesus Christ, give your life to God. And Paul also says in 2 Corinthians: ‘For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again’ (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Another translation says Christ love ‘controls’ us. That’s so true. Because of Christ’s love, we should be literally controlled by him in the way that we live.
So do you do good works because you are thankful to God for saving you from sin?