Anglican Morning Devotion fort 22 July 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Revelation 14:10-11; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1)
Several years ago as I was driving through Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I heard an old fire-and-brimstone preacher on the radio discuss a sort of ‘local celebrity.’ The celebrity was most noted for his indulging in whisky, cigar smoking, gambling, and attendance at a local house of ill-repute. He provided an apparently convenient role model for local ministers as an example of what not to be like. His earthly name was Ben, but that is not important since no man has a name in Hell. Ben was dead in trespasses and sin.
By and by, Ben suffered an earthly death though he had been a dead man walking most of his life. The country preacher explained that Ben had loved the dance halls, the bars, the gambling establishments, and the houses of prostitution in his sordid life on earth. He never passed by the opportunity to visit these forbidden spots. But, now, Ben was dead as a door-nail. (a term used by William Shakespear in 1592, King Henry VI, Part 2) It means pretty much DEAD! As the hearse transported Ben’s body from the funeral home to his ‘long home’ of the grave, it passed by the bar Ben loved to attend, but Ben paid no mind at all. It passed by the gambling casino of which Ben took no note at all; it continued without even slowing down by the house of ill-repute of which Ben was a frequent guest, but Ben just lay there staring up at the covering of the casket. Why had Been lost interest in these former attractions? It was because Ben was DEAD! He had been dead all the years of his life because he treasured the wrong things. He never felt drawn to Christ. At least, Ben would now be joined by all the lovers of sin which he had adored in his sorry life. I never forgot that fine and folksy sermon!
Ben is an example of those who die in their sins. He represents that first class of men who die and never see another sunrise for there is no light in the utter darkness to which he is destined in Hell.
Thanks be to God, there is another class of dead men walking who are dead in Christ and who, as Christ did, will rise from their borrowed tombs to eternal bliss. Those are the ones who were dead in trespasses and sins and who have been called to newness of life in Christ. But how can the saved be symbolically dead?
Here are just a few of the ways:
- The elect of God are free from the penalty of sin: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6-7)
- The elect are no longer subject to the lordship of sin: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:11)
- The elect are dead to the appeal of sin: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14)
- Our old nature of man is dead and we live a new life in Christ: “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” (Galatians 2:20)
- The Christian enjoys a life of liberty – not of self will, but in doing the will of the Lord: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Galatians 5:24)
- The Christian is dead to the claims of the law: “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” (Romans 7:4)
This does not mean we are lawless toward God, but our obedience to His Law is no longer constrained by
Tables of Stones, but undergirded by the Law of Love that compels obedience to His Law. Which class of dead men are you?