Anglican Morning Devotion for 11 October 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” (MATTHEW 27:3-5; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“And he said, “A certain man had two sons: 12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” (LUKE 15:11-19)
I can say, without reservation, “I have sinned” and come short of the glory of God. And I can say with equal veracity that you, and all other sons and daughters of Adam, have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Sin is not an exception, but a ruling principle, instilled in the DNA of every child born of woman. It is an inherent disease passed down from parent to child beginning at our first parents eastward in Eden. It is for this reason that the Prayer of General Confession of the traditional Book of Common Prayer begins with this phrase: “WE have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep.” (1928 BCP, pg 6) Surely, it is an absolute and inflexible truth.
I need not remind you that the “wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) There are two different deaths that confront us from our early consciousness – one physical and the other spiritual. The wages of sin is death to the person who belongs not to the family of God. In fact, that person who dies unsaved and unredeemed faces three deaths – one spiritual, and the other two, physical, for he faces the second death after being judged on the Last Day for the unforgiven sins he has committed without benefit of that imputed righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ as a Robe of Righteousness. (see Rev 2:11).
Let us consider some selected examples of “I have sinned” of the Bible. Remember, a consciousness of God is required to acknowledge sin since sin is a transgression of the Law of God. It is possible to acknowledge the Law of God and, yet, be contemptuous of it as was Pharaoh: “I have sinned!” proclaimed Pharaoh after the Lord had caused it to rain hail mingled with fire upon the land of Egypt. But his obduracy returned after the cause of his repentance was lifted. “And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.” (Exodus 9:27) We, too, oftentimes confess our sins that have resulted in hurt and ruin and then returned as a dog to its vomit after the dearth of blessing is past. Confession must be made with a sincere heart and not with light intent.
Balaam was a prophet who actually prophesied according to the Word of the Lord, yet, sinned tremendously in causing the Children of Israel to go astray. When Balaam was bound to execute his own will, the Angel of the Lord stopped him dead in his way. “And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again,” (Numbers 22:34), but this did not stop Balaam from his remaining career of sinful deceit toward Israel. His confession of sin was not the heart-changing kind that engenders favor before an Almighty God.
David, a man who remained a man after God’s own heart, confessed his sin once the overwhelming enormity of his sin was revealed to him by Nathan. The bridge back to God and forgiveness is always open for a return as long as we have not burned that bridge by grievous sin.
Judas, in our introductory text, “repented himself,” but not to God, in the same manner in which the Pharisee prayed “with himself” but not to God. (see Luke 18:11). Both were concerned more with their own volition than that of God.
Compared with the illumined Way of the Lord, the world is mad with its evil proclivities. But the young Prodigal was one who was ever his father’s son, even if in a far country out of his father’s will. He did, indeed, come to his right senses and arose and confessed with contrite heart his sins to his father. Every wayward child of God has that bridge that can transport him back from sinful oblivion to His Father’s House of Bread and Praise (Bethlehem-Judah). Let not the hot wrath of sin burn that bridge!