Anglican Morning Devotion for 31 July 2021 Anno Domini, a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
GRANT to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This Collect for the 9th Sunday after Trinity is that which expresses the “whole doctrine of grace.” The strength of the Collect was slightly reduced by the 1662 revisers in the phrase, “we cannot do any thing that is good without thee” from the original of Cranmer’s “which CANNOT BE without thee!” While it is true that we cannot do anything good without God, it is more importantly true that we cannot do anything at all without Him for, without Him, we could not exist. The Collect petitions for a grant of benefit. As is customary of all Godly prayers, nothing of personal and material benefit is sought, but only that which is pleasing to God.
It is important to bear in mind that only those things which are pleasing to God are of any benefit to us as well, in the last resort, for He loves us and pines for only the good things of His Love to be manifested through our lives and testimonies. We can only live a life pleasing to God through the efficacy of His Will and Word both for us and acting through our members. Of course, His grace is not restricted to believers only, but is also manifested in a general application to the whole world. The world is full of lost and dying souls, but God is present even in the darkest corners of our world, and His saving Light only revealed to those whose souls and spirits respond to that bright beam of the Searchlight which tops the turbulent waves of the sea and draws us nearer by faith. Faith is our spiritual eyes without which we are blind beggars, and even that faith is also a gift of God.
The grace expressed always in God’s Word is very like a great Magnet which draws the metal whose properties are of the same nature with His own by having the Law of God written in scarlet letters upon the tender tissues of the heart. The great comfort we may have in all of this promise of grace is that God knows WHERE we are and where we are GOING! He sees our small bark on the restless waves of the sea and He knows, as well as we, that we cannot brave the storms of the seas in our bark without a great Power of Help. His outstretched Arm sustains us on these seas of life, and we are without in Him danger though the sea billows roar. This is our Friend, our Father, our God, our Redeemer, and our Lord. Have you seen the Light?
One of my favorite men of God, Charles Spurgeon, describes in ingenious language the means whereby men are drawn to Christ. Remember, Christ will lose none that the Father has placed in His care. Here is Spurgeon’s quote which is antithetical to Arminianism:
“When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul – when they were as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron; and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown all of a sudden from a babe into a man – that I had made progress in scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God … I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, I ascribe my change wholly to God.” (Autobiography: 1, The Early Years, Banner of Truth, p. 164-165)
Self-will of man is evil continually, but the will can only be made free through redemption in our Lord Jesus Christ. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5 (KJV)