As a follow-up to last week, here is a second editorial about thanksgiving and the apostle Paul.
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A Christian’s Thanksgiving
November 22, 1924
An Editorial; p. 8
(Most likely written by Willard Mohorter)
We are never disappointed in Paul. From the beginning he understood that it was the good pleasure of God to reveal His Son in him. This was the goal of his ambition, and to its attainment he gave the whole of his talents. So Christlike was his character, and so exalted were his Christian accomplishments, that he was able to say: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
Abundance was a great word with Paul. “I know how to abound,” said he. He was acquainted with “the abundance of grace,” abundant revelations, the abounding sufferings of Christ, how the truth of God abounded. His labors were abundant, and he kept exhorting the saints to abound in the work of the Lord, abounding in love, “abounding more and more.” He had found the life in Christ, the life abundant.
It is little wonder, then, that such a man, “a man in Christ,” should “abound also by many thanksgivings.” More than all the rest, he has taught Christians how to be thankful. “I thank God through Jesus Christ; I cease not to give thanks; giving thanks always; in everything give thanks; thanks be to God.”
A Christian’s thanksgiving is a pretty good test of his poverty or wealth of spiritual experience; a test of the prosperity of his soul.
Unlike most of us, Paul’s thanksgiving was not confined chiefly to material benefits. Indeed, the great apostle was not a favored son of worldly fortune. He was an exceedingly poor man. He knew the heights and depths of hardship and suffering. But through it all he received “the supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ,” and was more than conqueror.
Above all things he thanked God for Christ and the church—Christ the unspeakable gift, and the church the pillar and ground of the truth.
We are today passing through a period of unusually bitter attack upon the church. The public would do well to discern that this assault upon the citadel of Christianity is staged with a straw man which the critics call the “church,” that is not the church, but is a sectarian institution full of superstitions and human inventions and corruption.
The real church is built upon the rock, and the gates of Hades shall never prevail against it. It is for this eternal institution that Paul ceased not to give thanks—a divine institution which embodies “the grace of God” (1 Cor. 1:4), which “proclaims faith throughout the world” (Rom. 1:8), which “shows love toward all the saints” (Eph. 1:15), which “furthers the gospel” (Phil. 1:5), whose “work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 1:1, 2) is the one and only rainbow of promise arching the sorrow and sin and broken dreams of the human race.
We bring our thanks to God for the faith of our fathers, living still, in spite of dungeon, fire and sword.
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—Jim Nieman, managing editor, Christian Standard
Image: A drawing of the apostle Paul of Tarsus, from about 1700, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.