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Yet how often are we prone to look at, or even obsess on, the evidence of the Fall in our daily lives rather than the redeeming work of God in our midst? How quickly we complain, embrace anxiety, even encourage conflict, as if we are glorifying God by saturating our hearts and minds with the trite, trivial, and temporal. Now before you begin to think that I am adding shame to your guilt for not giving thanks in all circumstances, let me offer this helpful observation: I think we are not consistent in our thanksgiving to God because we do not look to the gospel to empower our praise. Praise is not an obligation accomplished but a response enjoyed.
Consider the relevance of this: We are called to live holy lives, not to merit God’s favor but to be like him, to grow in godliness, to mature in Christlikeness. As such, to live our lives in holiness is not a burden of conformity but a family trait to be embraced and enjoyed. What is even more extraordinary about this is that our holy God calls us saints, even now, even as we wrestle with our sinful flesh, even as we are on this side of eternal life. We are saints of God, because of God’s grace alone through faith in Christ to the glory of God alone.
In this sense, every Lord’s Day is Memorial Day in the church, where we decorate not the graves of the fallen but look to the crucified who is risen, where we not merely commemorate the greatest sacrifice ever made but find our very life in it. And through the ordinary means of grace, we remember the extraordinary means of our redemption: Christ crucified and resurrected. Just as it is the Lord’s kindness that leads us to repentance, it is his provision that leads us to praise.
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