Making known God's wisdom to the angels
Now that the great announcements to Mary and Joseph and the shepherds are done, what do angels do all the time? We usually picture them working 24/7 to prevent us from striking our foot against a stone (Psalm 91:12).
Paul’s words in Ephesians 3 talk about the Church making known the wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. The angels.
Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with
, members together of one body, and
sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a
servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working
of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all God's
people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable
riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration
of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all
things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold
wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the
heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished
in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may
approach God with freedom and confidence. – Ephesians 3:2-12 Israel
The fourth stanza of the hymn, “Drawn to the Cross” in Christian Worship says: “To pledge my labor willingly, which shall so sweet a service be; That angels well might envy me, Christ crucified, I come.”
This, of course isn’t a sinful envy on the part of God’s angels. But if you are wondering what they do all the time besides protecting us from harm, here it is. They listen and watch and stand in awe of the wisdom of God being revealed through the Church. They listen and watch the message of God’s grace reach one heart and soul at a time all throughout the world. They stand in awe of this probably even better than we do … not because it reveals our wisdom, but God’s.
Imagine it. Holy sinless servants of God watch sinful enemies of God become friends of God … a part of his family even. They watch the fear, terror, and uncertainty of sinful human beings melt away into confidence and freedom before their gracious Lord. They watch how God’s wisdom creates strengthens and sustains people throughout their pilgrimage in this world. They raise the roof of heaven as the miracle of faith is created in a person’s heart and as it produces fruits like repentance and further proclamation of the gospel.
Paul pictures what we have in the preaching of the gospel as a gracious gift, a gift that even amazes the angels as it reveals the wisdom of God in Christ. We might not always see it that way. Sometimes, as pastors, we grow weary in delivering this message. Some days our hearts are on fire and other days we are on auto pilot. But think about what you get to do from the perspective of the angels. To them, we have the greatest and most honorable work … revealing the mystery of God to sin sick souls … revealing what sinful people never would have guessed on their own.