“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
~Romans 1:21 (NIV).
Many, many people over the centuries have marvelled at the theological corpus that is Romans. Paul takes the reader on a thousand and one journeys to God in this ‘letter’ to Rome. We will never exhaust the meaning implicit, and the landscape covered, in this biblical monument to Jesus Christ our Lord.
The abovementioned verse is, however, a crucial juncture in the mix of many such junctures that are sprinkled throughout Romans.
We find the purposes of faith central in this: those who truly love God—via what they do with their worship—will find ways of being appropriately thankful for all that God has bestowed upon them.
The Reciprocal Blessing
This is a marvellous salve: thankfulness. It is appreciation and the crediting of things that rightly deserve to be credited. And God is to be credited for everything, whether created in the natural environment, technology, or science—for science is simply God’s timely revelation to us—or anything else.
Paul contends in the early going of Romans why thankfulness is so important.
When we offer thanks to our God, as a big part of the way we live our lives, we’re blessed with much reciprocal insight in how to live godly lives. Thanks, therefore, become abundantly necessary.
Thanks mean we do not take things upon ourselves as if we were the authority on everything or anything. There is One higher who rightly deserves our commendations.
God is Plainly Known – Thanks Are Due God
God has made the Spirit of creation visible to all people. No one is spared the magnificence of the revelation of this world/universe; all see and all can simply marvel.
But many, indeed, do not marvel.
Those who do not marvel, taking a certain ambivalent dislike to even being here—in the presence of God—are destined for the farther abyss of sin, the futility of being, and cursing in abundance. This is plainly because they, via their lack of good works of faith, do not thank God by engaging actively in love, grace and whole dogmas of virtue. Their foolish hearts will only be further darkened in not giving thanks where it’s due.
This is very little to do with whether we’re Christian or not.
Many non-believers are thanking God (though they know it not) and they’re blessed for it. Likewise there are sluggardly believers who trample the blessings of God through arrogance and ignorance.
Real Thankfulness – In Action
This has more to do with how thankful we are in the very business of life.
There is hardly a more poignant message for us, even as Paul catapults it before the eyes of our hearts in early Romans.
To thank—proactively and passionately—via the very words we speak and the acts of our bodies and workings of our minds—is to live the truly blessed life of the knowledge of God and to act on God’s will unto eternity.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.