Anglican Morning Devotion for 14 October 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.”
(Matthew 18:23-25; all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
Who do you suppose the King represents in the above passage? It is, of course, God. Who do you suppose was the servant? It was me, and all others who call upon the Name of the Lord. We are all a part of every Word that the bible speaks – either good or bad. There will come a time when the books are closed and accounting made, friend, of our lives. God will review our account and decide if our debts have been either paid, or delinquent. May I remind you that your sins are ENORMOUS! But God’s grace is sufficient to cover all through the redemption made available through the sacrifice of His only Begotten Son. Now, I will tell you that ten thousand talents will not begin to number your sins, or mine. But ten thousand talents represent a grievous debt of billions of dollars in our contemporary society. It is a figure that no man can pay. Is it not a grievous number of sins? This servant to which the Lord makes reference had racked up an enormous debt which he could not possibly pay. The proper punishment for not paying one’s debts was imprisonment and his family sold into slavery until the debt was paid. Can you pay such a debt from the prison of Hell? Can we keep the law so perfectly that the King will not find a debt on our account sheet?
The servant was frantic with grief and hopelessness. There being no possible means of repaying the debt (of sin), what did the servant do, and what COULD he do? He had no recourse except that of begging mercy through repentance. 26 “The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.” Have mercy on me, Lord. Forgive my great shortcomings (my sins) and I shall change. Have you come to the point of knowing your only recourse was to throw yourself down before the Throne of God’s Grace and beg forgiveness – not from a priest, but from God? How does the Lord respond to such tears of repentance? 27 “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.” This act of the King (God) is not exceptional, but made available all whose burdens of sin have become unbearable. He did not simply grant a probationary release, but a permanent forgiveness of ALL debt. What a relief it must have been to have been relieved of such a burden of debt – for the servant, and for you and me, when we came to Christ! Please note that forgiveness was not granted until it was pleaded for. How should we respond afterwards?
How soon does the dog return to its own vomit and the washed pig to wallowing in the mud! “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
(2 Peter 2:22) The nature of a dog and a pig remains the same regardless the provision made for them. A reprobate sinner may fain the repentance necessary before God, But his old nature shall return unless he has truly been made a new creature in Christ.
Did this forgiven servant amend his thinking after being forgiven? 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.” He was greedy when he begged for mercy of the King, and his darkened heart is yet filled with greed – a hundred pence was a pittance compared to even a single talent; but it must be said that the forgiven servant at this point has no obligation to forgive the debt. That obligation will be made in the next verse: 29 “And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.” Suddenly, the circumstances have changed. The same appeal made by the forgiven servant to the King is now being made to him. How he responds will determine his standing with the King (God). Will he freely forgive as he was forgiven? 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.” First of all, just as we, or a priest, cannot forgive or absolve sin, so can we neither condemn any to the same Hell from which we have been so graciously saved. What abject ingratitude. Once forgiveness is asked for, out of a sincere heart, we have no choice but to forgive. And, just as God does, we should remember the debt no longer that we have forgiven. Make no mistake; the eyes of God are everywhere. His Holy Angels also report directly to Him of every transgression of man.
31 “So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.” The fellow servants were more righteous than the forgiven servant because they were sad to see the injustice of an unforgiving heart. No such injustice remains secret to the mind of God. God has forgiven us an immensity of sins, yet we often fail to forgive those around us of a single offense thought they come begging for forgiveness. God places no higher standard of forgiveness upon His children than He, Himself, exercises. To be forgiven of God, we must pray for forgiveness. To be forgiven by men, we must repent and ask for forgiveness. Then are we required to forgive without number of times. God compares the process of our responsibility to forgive to be identical to His. Remember the Lord’s Prayer which too many utter in vain? “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matt 6:12) Have we repeated that verse with true conviction? What does this mean? Jesus explains it perfectly in the Parable today and in the sequential statement on the Lord’s Prayer: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matt 6:14-15