A Devotion for 19 November 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Galatians 2:19-21
Have you before considered yourself to have been crucified with Christ? Have you followed Him, bearing your cross, into every highway and b y-way that He trod? “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” Why would one need take up a cross if it served no purpose?
Following the Lord means to follow Him all the way and in EVERY way. It means to cast off the old rags of sin and take upon one’s self the Robe of Righteousness purchased at grave expense for you by the Lord. It means to die to the world and be made alive in Christ. “9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:9-11
Just as Adam began to die physically the moment he partook of the forbidden Tree, so do we become alive in Christ at the moment we are born anew in Him. The old person dies in progressive sanctification thereafter to sin.
Have we suffered rejection due to our faith in Christ? Have we been shunned by friends? Have we lost social acceptance in some circles? Have we suffered ridicule and insults from the world for our faith? If so, did not Christ suffer those things in greater measure, and more – He suffered a humiliating death on the cross.
So, we are agreed to follow Christ ALL THE WAY! All the way to what destination? We follow Him in restoring vision, hearing, the leper, the maimed, and even raising the dead. We follow Him in feeding the thousands. We walk the placid coasts of Galilee. But what of His journey to Calvary? Do we follow Him there as well? And if not, are we constantly willing to do so if so-called?
We do not join an army simply to wear an impressive uniform. We must bear arms for cause. We are Christians called into the Army of God. We must be willing to lay down our lives if necessary for His namesake. The famous English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, was asked by a reporter if he had the grace to die for his Lord to which Spurgeon responded, “Certainly not!” When pressed by the reporter as to why not, being the greatest preacher in England, Spurgeon said, “I do not have the grace to die for Christ, but I am persuaded that, should the occasion ever be necessary, the Lord would grant me that grace at that moment.”
There are but two kinds of worlds – the physical globe upon which we live; and the Heavenly Paradise to which we trust to go. The old world will be destroyed and its elements dissolved in fervent heat. Which do you prefer? There are two forms of existence – physical and spiritual. The physical will suffer destruction, but the spirit will continue on in eternity – either in the fires of Hell or in the Paradise of God.
The prospects of our future promise are found in the only absolute truth available to mankind – the Word of God! It provides answers to our every trouble, and its counsel is sufficient to remedy every national ill of our country if we would only heed that counsel.
In a sense, the world itself will undergo a crucifixion at the Last Trump. The events will occur, according to God’s Word, in the following order:
1. The ground will be burned up in the fires.
2. Even the atmosphere will be burned – the elements dissolved.
3. The earth will be the very fuel.
4. This will occur when the scale of time is canceled.
5. The event will be announced by the mighty Angel.
We know this much: God’s Word will remain sound and undefiled throughout such horrific destruction. Fire cannot burn it for it is recorded in Heaven. “35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35
Where will you and I be when this apocalyptic event occurs? Are we born anew? Are we in Christ? If so, no harm can come to anyone who is in Christ. Christ is our Ark of Salvation. The greater the destruction of this world and Universe, the greater distance we are carried from it.
In our day, many will scoff and claim we take our religion too seriously. They make indecent jokes and gestures of our faith. They did the same to Noah as the Ark was being built. They ridiculed him yet, he preached to them of the coming destruction for one hundred years.
Remember Noah! Jesus tells us that our day will be as the days of Noah. Are we not there yet? What did God say to Moses before the Flood? “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” Gen 7:1 Did God tell Noah to ‘Go into the Ark?” Not at all, He told Noah to “Come into the Ark.” The language of the Bible is precise. God invited Noah to come into the place of security ‘where He was!’ He has called us to do the same. Our Ark is Jesus Christ!
When Noah and his family, along with all the animals God sent after him, had entered the Ark, did God command Noah to close the door of the Ark? No, He did not! “ . . they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.” Why is this last phrase important? Because it means that no man has the authority to shut the door of salvation on mankind – only the Lord.
As you see the evil presence grow among us, are you bearing your cross? Will you, as did the great Reformers, be willing to die for your faith rather than deny it? The cross you bear may have a purpose. Be prepared for the day!
Our sins must be crucified on that cross – our unholy desires dismissed, our spiteful thoughts vanquished. Our old man must be crucified there and allow the new man to be resurrected (born again) thereby. If we follow Christ all the way, we will also follow Him to a borrowed tomb; and we shall follow Him in His resurrection to newness of life – a life eternal with Him.