Anglican Morning Devotion for 26 January 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” 31 “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. 36But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41I receive not honour from men. 42But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:30-47; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Can the elect of God do any good work apart from Christ? What a wonderful change would descend upon the Church if her people adhered to the opening principle of the above text made by our Lord. If, in all our thoughts, words, and deeds, we conformed to the will of the Father in their execution, would not our behaviors change to that of holiness and not a casual faith? As Christians, we are bound by that same principle. We can do nothing of worth apart from Christ working in and through us. Our good works are not ours, but His who has claimed us and redeemed us in a bloody sacrifice. Our ungodly works are all that we can lay claim to. Even our good works, performed outside bounds of grace, are wicked in the eyes of the Lord. “An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.” (Proverbs 21:4)
What a great thing is the measure of our Father’s love for us that makes possible our love for Him. The Church is the Bride of Christ. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; . . . So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” (Ephesians 5:25, 28) There seems to be a very meaningful counsel to us in this passage. Note, there is no mention of the wife loving the husband. Why do you suppose it is so? I believe that the nature of a woman’s heart is to always return the kind of love that is sacrificial unto death. It is the very nature of the woman’s heart. It is also true, since Christ first loved us (the Church) we are destined to reciprocate that love as a faithful Bride.
God loved us long before the laying of the foundations of the world. We were deliberately placed in the hand of His only Begotten Son by grant and will of the Father – and we know that our Lord will not lose a single soul placed in His care. If we could only accept without reservation every word spoken by the Apostles, and discount our own frail powers of logic and reason, we would be very near the Gates of Splendor. Jeus, in His last prayer, spoke these words: “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” (John 17:6-11) This is consistent with the doctrine recoverd by the Reformers at the founding of our Church.
XVII. Of Predestination and Election.
Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God’s mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity. As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
(Excerpted from Art XVII, Thirty Nine Articles of Religion – English Reformation Church))
If we could only accept the clear teachings of Christ and His Apostles, how much more certain could we be of our security in Christ. Christ loses none that the Father places in His hand.