Anglican Morning Devotion, 13 August 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)
The Ten Commandments are the most concise and all-encompassing code of law in history. The Commandments are clearly stated and cover the moral and legal obligations of all civilized societies. Yet no man or woman, other than our Lord Jesus Christ, has ever been able to keep these ten laws inviolate. It is the very simplicity of the Commandments that make them both comprehensible and enduring. In the proliferation of laws is tyranny. When governments fill the law register with tomes of laws that can hardly be comprehended even by the most meticulous accountants and attorneys, then is the gate of tyranny opened for corruption and abuse. Laws are then applied selectively for political enemies and not applied at all for friends of the regime.
“Thomas Jefferson warned that “concentrating” or combining the powers of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government “in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government.” Yet overcriminalization invites and effectively requires prosecutors, judges, and even unelected federal bureaucrats to engage in lawmaking to determine the scope and severity of criminal punishment. In order to preserve the rights of innocent Americans, the unbridled and unprincipled growth of federal criminal statutes and regulations must be contained.” (Brian Walsh and Benjamin Keane, Heritage Foundation 2011)
In the Part One of this devotion on Law, the introductory text was of the summary of the Law. How did that summary apply to the Laws’ laid down by God at Mt. Sinai? “a. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, b. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40 The first half of the Table of Laws of Sinai dealt with the duty and reverence we owe to God Almighty. The second half deals with the obligations we owe our fellow human beings. What is the unifying principle that enables us to obey both Tables? Is it not the Author of Love and Progenitor of it? We could have no love at all were it not from God since God is Love! And why how are we enabled to love our Lord Jesus Christ? “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) How can we possibly love God when we are incapable of personal righteousness? It is by way of returning the love He has for us to Him. Love covers ALL sin – the Love of Christ in dying for our redemption. “Love covereth all sins.” (Proverbs 10:12b)
How can we love our fellows as ourselves? By loving God in the first place, and then loving His creatures. The catalyst for obedience is forever LOVE. We can be accounted completely and wholly righteous, not by any personal works, but by the imputed righteousness of our Lord who died for us (in love).
It is natural that a little child should love its parents. But a child is not aware of the dangers and hazards that may hurt those whom he loves. He may paint the walls of the kitchen with pink blotches feeling he is doing a commendable work to please his parents. The result of that paint job may be displeasing to the eye, but it should, at the same time, be warming to the heart. It was not done in disobedient temper, but a desire to please. We are children in the eyes of God. When we always act out of love for our Father in Heaven and His dear creatures, we can do no evil.
This concept of the empowerment of love has been the most difficult for me to convey to my friends and fellows of faith. We may love God so very much and love His word, but cannot bring ourselves to love the lost sinner for whom He died. Were we not blind sinners ere the Holy Ghost placed a hook in our hearts and drew us to the Throne of Grace and Mercy? Only God knows whom among the lost He will call as He did us. So we must go forth with the Gospel of Love with diligence. Truth and Spirit must be interlocked!
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
(Romans 5:8; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)