Anglican Morning Devotion for 4 June 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, BECAUSE he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
(1 John 4:17-21; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
It is a natural law of humanity that a mother and father love their children. When does that love begin? In almost every case, the child is loved while yet in the mother’s womb, and certainly after birth. Unfortunately, even the natural law of God is being held in contempt today by those who advocate the murder of infants in their mother’s womb, but I speak from a historical perspective when life was much more highly valued and morality ruled over passion and mere convenience.
May I ask a simple question of the reader! Did the infant in the mother’s womb love the mother? Did the newborn infant love the mother and father? Not likely. We are born with only one concern – instant attention and gratification. We scream our lungs out until we get what we want. We create a mess for our mothers who bathe and feed us moment by moment, and tenderly rock us to sleep by some mother’s lullaby. In time, the baby learns to love the mother, but by what means? It is because of the love of the mother for the baby that the baby is able to return that love to the mother. The same is true of God. We can only love Him because He first loved us and has adopted us as His own children to care for and to provide us the provender necessary for the spiritual man. Our love for God is merely an echo of the Love He has generated toward us.
We read from the Psalms: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” (Psalms 111:10) Fear of the Lord is not the end of wisdom, but only the BEGINNING. When I entered the first grade of elementary school, I bore a deathly fear of my teacher on the first day. I did my best to please her and answer every question she asked to the best of my ability. My older sister had told me that the teacher would give me a paddling if I even glanced in the wrong direction. Slowly, seeing that my teacher actually cared for me and wanted me to do well for my own sake, I began to love her – and still do as she still lives in Dalton, Georgia. As we fear the Lord and begin to study His purposes for our lives, we begin to see the great love with which He loved us, and gave Himself for us. Our fear of God begins to be tempered by love. Instead of a fear of damnation and judgment, our fear changes to the fear of disappointing our beloved Savior.
This again reflects the parent/child relationship in the natural world. Knowing of the great love our parents have for us, we no longer fear physical punishment as much as we fear disappointing their love for us. As we realize that we are actually chosen and elected as the adopted children of the Living God, our greatest desire is directed to pleasing Him in every way within our means. It is a love that has been generated at first by the very primal Source of all LOVE!
BECAUSE is a word used in other sense as well. The love of God is a two-sided coin. The one side bearing the image of Christ is the personification of love. The opposite side bears the legal authority of the issuing power. We may choose either love as a means to God, or the Law under which no man can merit salvation. “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for BECAUSE of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:6) Obedience engenders the favor of God, but sin warrants His wrath and disfavor. We fail of love BECAUSE of lack of faith: “But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:17-19)
Which side of the coin do you favor?