How Can We Say Thanks?

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

Ephesians 1:7-8, NLT

In Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott says that her two best prayers are “Help me, help me, help me” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Today’s devotional builds on Lamott’s prayers. 

Many times, the word choice in biblical translation does not make much difference to the overall meaning. In the case of Ephesians 1:7, word choice offers a new perspective.

Many translations use the word “sin” in Ephesians 1:7.  As believers, some common Christianese words don’t give pause these days. “Sin” tends to be one of those words. To sin means “to fail” or “miss the goal.” Many of us can accept a little mistake here or there from time to time. Sometimes we let those mistakes go by without a second thought. After all, we are covered by God’s grace. After a while, sinning and receiving God’s forgiveness becomes our privilege instead of God’s mercy. 

How do we avoid this? Maybe the solution is in our word choice. Let’s take another look at Ephesians 1:7 in Greek. 

When Paul wrote it, he chose the word “paraptōmatōn” (trespass, rebellion, transgression) instead of the more commonly used “hamartéma” (sin). The word paraptōmatōn can be translated as “a violation of trust or a relationship.” 

That’s what we did as sinners, we violated God’s trust. We didn’t just mess up; we messed up big time. We broke God’s heart; yet, God was faithful. God responded to our sin, our transgression with love. He laid them all (past, present, and future) on Son Jesus Christ then said to us, you are redeemed. All we had to do is say, “Help!” This is why we should always say, “Thank you!”

How do we thank God for what he has done for us? How do we say thank you to Jesus Christ for responding to our rebellion and transgression, our violation of relationship trust, with his faithfulness, trustworthiness, and integrity? 

We say thank you in the way we live our lives. We praise God best when we live our best lives in Christ Jesus. While worship and praise are necessary and expected, so too are our daily actions and interactions. We can’t praise God in worship and spend the rest of the week violating our relationships with God and with others. 

Sometimes, it is hard to love the way God expects us to love. However, God’s grace is sufficient. Ephesians 1:8 teaches that God’s grace is lavished upon us, without end and without merit. We receive this grace, just because God loves us. So, when it gets hard to praise God through our lives, our actions, and our interactions, remember that Jesus already showed us how while on earth. Jesus even left us with a teacher and a helper, the Holy Spirit, to help us every step of the way. God has got us covered and so we can make God a proud parent with our daily living. 

What are some everyday ways you can praise God beyond your words of praise, but through the life you live in Christ Jesus?