And Be Ye Thankful

Colossians 3:15 closed with “and be ye thankful.” Thankfulness is at the heart of the Christian Religion. Romans 1 detailed the Gentile descent into depravity as they knew God but did not honor him as God and neither were they thankful (Romans 1:21). To know God is to be grateful.

When Paul wrote, “be ye thankful” in Colossians 3:15, he told us to be something not to do something. The word “be” (γίνεσθε) means “to come into existence.” It is often used to introduce a new event (“it came to pass”). “We could translate “Be thankful people,” those who are characterized by their thankfulness, or indeed “keep being or becoming (γίνεσθε) thankful,” the verb indicating an ongoing responsibility (James D. G. Dunn NICGNT, 235).

Paul had already instructed Christians to be characterized by thankfulness in Colossians 1:12. Our English versions say, “giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of  the saints in light.” The word translated “giving thanks” is a participle which tells us that we are to be the people who are giving thanks. Simply,  thankful to God is what we are.

“Nothing is holier than that tongue, which in evils giveth thanks to God; truly in no respect doth it fall short of that of martyrs; both are alike crowned, both this, and they. For over this one also stands the executioner to force it to deny God, by blasphemy; the devil stands over it, torturing it with executioner thoughts, darkening it with despondencies. If then one bear his griefs, and give thanks, he hath gained a crown of martyrdom.” (John Chrysostom,  vol. 13, NPNF, 298).

Let us be thankful. Christian, thankfulness is not limited to one day or to occasions. Rather, thankfulness flows from the heart at peaceful rest in Christ.

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