“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Back in my AA days, I heard a phrase that I used many times myself, “I’m thankful for my addiction because without it, I wouldn’t have the relationship with God that I have now.” In a way, this makes sense provided one thinks that salvation is our own doing. The idea is that sobriety finally cleared my head enough that I could decide and act towards God; and now that everything is much better, I can be thankful for that “springboard” that propelled me to a place I likely would not otherwise have ever gotten to.
I’m not thankful for my addiction. It nearly cost me my life. Looking at it, there was nothing about my addiction that was worthy. Sure, there were lots of times of laughter but that was only induced by an intoxicant. It wasn’t genuine. Furthermore, the subject matter of the laughter was never on things holy. In fact, even the thought of holiness would have quickly been laughed off.
No, there was no “good” that came out of my addiction. “Wait a minute,” you say. “Aren’t we supposed to be thankful for all things?” No, we are to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thes. 5:18) which is quite different than thanking for all things. To give thanks for sin would be somehow legitimizing it, giving it credit or merit as if it had a redeeming quality.
We see that sin never is a good thing, all through the pages of our bibles. In fact, it drives us away from God.
Isaiah 59:2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Should I be thankful for that?
Now, if we push this with people that say it, we might hear that it isn’t the sin that isn’t to be thanked but rather the new life. Well, yes, and more, but that’s not what people say. Why don’t we instead say something like this?
Romans 7:24-25a Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
You see, God is the one who snatches out of the tentacles of death. Our sin doesn’t push us to him. Our sin kills us; it is death. It wants nothing to do with God. God is on a rescue mission. From what? From ourselves. The plain truth is that God is the one that deserves the credit. He’s the ONLY one that deserves it. ALL of it.
Of course, there is no mercy without God choosing to whom he will have mercy (Romans 9:15), without the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 5:9-10), and without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). How can we give any credit to sin for that?
Perhaps you think I bang on this drum far too much. Well, I tell you, the more I study this stuff, the more I realize that I had nothing to do with my deliverance. My wicked heart is what got me into my sin in the first place, and my desires is what kept me there.
I was dead in my sin. That was my choice. Sin didn’t reveal God to me. Jesus is the one who did that (Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:22).
Folks, this amazes me. Now, I’m all for making bold statements comparing my former life with the one I have now. But, if truth matters, then let me give credit where credit is due. Let me rephrase that common saying:
“I thank Jesus for delivering me from the sin I chose. Without him I should be dead.”
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers