Anglican Morning Devotion for 9 January 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 5This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1-9; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The BEGINNING to which John refers is very much like that of Noah’s family as they disembarked from the Ark except this beginning is the one foreshadowed by Noah and the Ark – the ‘new beginning’ in Christ. John speaks more than once concerning the beginning. His beginning, really, of the Gospel of St. John begins with the same words of Genesis 1: ‘In the beginning.’ The new beginning represented by our redemption in Christ refers to no change of approach or will of God, but a continuation of the plan of God for the redemption of mankind begun before the worlds were ever made. Do you believe God was surprised at the Fall of Adam at Eden – He was not for He made preparation for his Fall before the foundation of the world. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelations 13:8)
Why would God allow evil to arise in His beautiful Creation? Would He create His creatures to be automatons, or even slaves to His will? He has endowed us with will and the power to execute that will to a certain extent. As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): “Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil. This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.”
When I look back over the lifetime of this write, I remember many calamitous (to me) setbacks that would seem that God had abandoned me; but, now, with the impartial benefit of time and perspective, I can see the constant hand of God in those events that were used to curb my inconvenient behavior and temper my will in the ways the Lord.
John constantly reminds us of the redeeming love of Christ and the newness of life offered us in His Way, Truth and Life. In the days of Noah, the evil imaginations of man’s heart reached the very threshold of that which we view in society today. There was no respect or love of God, no compassion on man or beasts, and no obedience to the norms of human society. The centuries following the Deluge, God, in accordance with His Immutable Will, presented to Moses the Ten Commandments which demonstrated the frailty of man in righteous living. It was for our edification and teaching that the Commandments were given to demonstrate our failure in obedience. So, the Law and the Prophets pointed to the greater emerging plan of God in the Redeemer, and was an indictment against our ability to live righteously. This was not a new plan, but simply the continuation of the plan formulated before Creation, intimated in Genesis 3:15, prefigured in Genesis 22 with the presumed sacrifice of Isaac, and sealed by the cross at Calvary.
It is my prayer that these devotions will prompt a renewed desire to explore, not only the Book of John and His Epistles, but the whole Word of God from beginning to end, and as Incarnated by the only Begotten Son of God. He is the WORD.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (Gospel of St. John 1:1-5)