[The following is an excerpt from, A Gospel Primer, by Melton Vincent]
The more absorbed I am in the gospel, the more grateful I become in the midst of my circumstances, whatever they may be.
Viewing life’s blessings as water in a drinking cup, I know that I could discontentedly focus on the half of the cup that seems empty, or I could gratefully focus on the half that is full. Certainly the latter approach is the better of the two, yet the gospel cultivates with me a richer gratitude than this.
The gospel reminds me first that what I actually deserve from God is a full cup churning with the torments of His wrath. 136 This is the cup that would be mine to drink if I were given what I deserve each day. With this understanding in mind, I see that to be handed a completely empty cup from God would be cause enough for infinite gratitude. If there were merely the tiniest drop of blessing contained in that otherwise empty cup, I should be blown away by the unbelievable kindness of God toward me. That God, in fact, has given me a cup 137 that is full of “every spiritual blessing in Christ,” 138 and this without the slightest admixture of wrath, leaves me truly dumbfounded with inexpressible joy. As for my specific earthly circumstances of plenty or want, I can see them always as infinite improvements on the hell I deserve.
When I look at any circumstances that God apportions me, I am first grateful for the wrath I am not receiving in that moment (The empty part of the cup never looked so good!) Second, I am grateful for the blessings that are given to me instead of His wrath. (Life’s blessings, however small, always appear exceedingly precious when viewed against the backdrop of the wrath I deserve.) This two-layered gratitude disposes my heart to give thanks in all things 139 and it also lends a certain intensity to my giving of thanks. Such a gospel-generated gratitude glorifies God, contributes to peace of mind, 140 and keeps my foot from the path of foolishness and ruin. 141
136-Revelation 14:10. “he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of his anger,” Psalm 75:8. “For a cup is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams; it is well mixed, and He pours out of this; surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs.”
137-Psalm 116. “(12) What shall I render the the Lord for all his benefits toward me? (13) I shall life the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 23:5. “…My cup overflows.”
138-1 Thessalonians 5:18. “In everything give thanks, fort this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
140-Philippians 4. “(6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
141-Romans 1. “(21) For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing to be wise, they became fools…(28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, (29) being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice…”