Texts – 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 9:15
Introduction: In studying the language of the NewTestament, it is fascinating to find that one Greek word may be dressed in an assortment of garments. In other words, it may be translated numerous ways. This is true of charis, the word selected for this message. Used over 150times, it is primarily rendered “grace” (130 times, in fact). However, it has its own clothes! And, you may find it wearing these special outfits: favor, pleasure, acceptable, benefit, gift, joy, liberality, and thanks.
I have become fascinated with one of its special garments, “thanks“. It is seen in this attire 12 times (Luke 6:32. 36, 39; 17:9; 1 Tim. 1: 12; 2 Tim. 1:3; Rom. 6:17; 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14; 8:16; 9:15; 1 Pet. 2:19). Although at first glance “grace” may not seem to look like “thanks,” it is the same basic truth in different clothing. Both outfits highlight the magnitude of this great principle.
1-A Matter Of Association
“Grace” and “thanks” are not frequently found together in the Scriptures. However, there is a noticeable relationship between them.
- Grace is the producer; thanks is the product.
- Grace is the root; thanks is the fruit.
- Grace is the foundation; thanks is the framework.
- Grace is the origin; thanks is the offspring.
- Grace is the inflow; thanks is the overflow.
To put it another way, gratitude is grace in action. Thanksgiving is grace at work. As the Lord works in us “both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13),
He enables us “in every good work to do His will” (Heb. 13:21). As He words in us “mightily,” we, in turn, “labour, striving according to His working” (Col. 1:29). When grace works in us, thanks will work out of us!
2-A Message Of Appreciation
Giving “thanks” exhibits an humble appreciation for the grace that has been received. Certainly, this was theidea in Paul’s mind when he expressed his gratitude to God, “But thanks (charis) be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57). Again, with an appreciative heart, he wrote, “Now thanks (charis) be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14).
Of course, thankful hearts are not only grateful to God for His undeserved favor, but are also appreciative of the kindness of others in life’s journey.
The grace of God extended to us through those around us keeps our hearts from pride and selfish independence. When writing to the saints at Corinth, he praised the ministry of Titus, saying, “But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you” (2 Cor. 8: 16).
3-A Measure Of Adoration
The term, “grace,” represents the favor, or loving-kindness, that issues from God, the Giver, to a needy heart, the receiver. On the other hand, “thanks,” as W. E. Vine so ably stated, is “on the part of the receiver, a sense of the favor bestowed, a feeling of gratitude,” and that to the Lord, the Giver! . Therefore, grateful hearts respond in worship and adoration.
We sense this spirit of intensity in Paul’s utterance, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15). From the sanctuary of his heart, the Apostle, as J. H. Bernard explained, ”bursts out here into a characteristic doxology.” He is caught up with things above. His affections move toward the throne. And, in prostration of soul, he gratefully worships the God of his salvation.
When I was in the grammar school, one of the high school boys brought a boomerang to the ball field. Most of us had never seen one of those interesting objects. I remember watching it sail out into the air, and then amazingly return in a circular pattern. Similarly, the Lord directs His grace our way and works in our hearts and lives. Then, completing the cycle, that same grace goes back to Him in the form of thanksgiving and praise.
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks (charis) beto God, whichgiveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks (charis) beunto God,which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks (charis) beto God, whichput the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks (charis) be unto God for his unspeakable gift.