Anglican Morning Devotion for 9 December 2021 Anno Domini,
the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Psalms 1)
We have studied this all-important Psalm in the past, but today from a slightly different perspective – that of the Way of the Lord as opposed to that of the Wicked.
I remember an old, old Bluegrass song sung in the days of my youth titled, That Long Lonesome Highway.
Look up look down that lonesome road
Hang down your head and cry my love.
I wish to the Lord I’d never been born,
Died when I was a baby, my lord
Died when I was a baby.
This may seem to be a morbid sentiment expressed in the words of this song, but it is as true as sunshine to the unbeliever who treads the Road of Wickedness and separation from God.
There is a perennial argument that arises in religious journals concerning the guilt or innocence of Judas. The modernists who are unable to fathom the dark fires of Hell prefer to believe that Judas had no choice in the matter of the betrayal of our Lord Jesus Christ. So, they argue, for that reason, Judas did not suffer the fires of Hell. Well, that is maybe a comforting pipe-dream for such false professor of faith, but it will be a great disappointment to them to learn that the opinions of man have nothing to do with the infallibility of God’s Word. All born of woman deserve to spend an eternity in outer darkness. The fact that God has elected those of His calling to enjoy the benefits of salvation has nothing to do with the depraved ones whose sinful life is evidence of their hopeless estate.
Judas did not become a servant of the devil on the night of the Last Supper, but long before at the moment of his very selection by our Lord for the purpose he performed. There is a passage in the Gospel of St. John that describes Judas even at the moment of his calling by the Lord: “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. 70Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” (John 6:65-71)
Those who are wicked in heart give evidence of their lost state in their actions and thoughts. The righteous, too, are identified by their devotion to God and in good works and obedience to their Sovereign Lord.
How does one know if he is called of God to the Throne of Mercy and Grace? “…no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John 6:65) We can know of our salvation and election in Christ with the certainty of our faith and the burning desire to serve our Lord and never to bring shame or blemish upon His Holy Name. The works of God are clearly beyond our finding out. Judas gave no egregious evidence of his lost state except in his greed and lack of compassion prior to his final betrayal. Neither did Saul (Paul) give evidence of any calling in the Lord until His Damascus Road epiphany. One could scarcely detect Paul to be any more destined for salvation than of Judas being destined for Hell. But the Spirit of God drew Paul as with a hook in his jaw to His service. Both were mighty sinners until the moment of decision which was initiated by God in the case of Paul, and by Satan in the case of Judas.