How do angels relate to mankind?
The angels have an interesting response to God’s loving provision for the redemption for sinful man. Apparently, there was no provision for the redemption of the angels who rebelled against God. They were cast out of heaven and sentenced to the Lake of Fire. Read I Corinthians 4:9 and I Peter 1:12. Peter wrote that good angels look with wonder upon the salvation that is offered to us and never provided for the angels who joined Satan in his rebellion.
In I Peter 1 we see some of the things that good angels marvel at. I Peter 1:2 notes being “sprinkled with His blood.” The angels who rebelled have not seen the potential for the cleansing of sin,
Read I Peter 1:3. Fallen angels have never been offered the new life available to us because of the provision of Jesus for our redemption. Angels marvel that God would love mankind so much that He would enter our world so He could redeem us.
Read I Peter 1:4 and 1:8. The angels marvel at all God has for believers. Angels marvel at the wonder of our redemption while too often we take it for granted, forgetting what it was like before we made that commitment to Jesus.
Although angels do not grasp God’s redemptive provision for mankind, they have been assigned the responsibility of helping with the task of evangelism. In Acts 8:26 we read that an angel led Philip to the Ethiopian treasurer. In Acts 10:1-8 we find that an angel led Cornelius to Peter. In addition, angels will help in the reaping of the fruits of evangelism at the end of time. Read Matthew 13:39 and Luke 15:10. When God rejoices the angels join Him. Do we rejoice over the things that cause God to rejoice?
The Bible notes some of the specific things that God has assigned to angels to do for us. It is tremendously important to remember that any blessings angels provide to us are because of the love of God. Angels always minister at His direction. As noted last week, angels are never to be worshipped nor are we ever to direct prayer requests to them for assistance. Praise for what they do is always directed to God from whom the blessings always flow. The primary reason for noting that angels serve us is to give us another reason to praise God for His care and provision.
Angelic activity can be divided into two categories, general activity in the world and specific activity on behalf of us as individuals. By way of general activity, it was via the angels that God gave us major parts of the Bible. Read Hebrews 2:2.How the Holy Spirit used angels to communicate God’s Word to the writers of Scripture or the extent to which He used them is not known. We must marvel, however, at the fact that angels, who know so much about God because they are in His presence, were used by God to reveal some of that knowledge to us.
Angels are also used to restrain evil activity. Scripture has various examples. Genesis 18 and 19 record the angelic activity in restraining evil men from doing harm to Lot and in leading Lot and his family away from Sodom. Read II Kings 6:8-17.
In Kenya during the 50’s the Mau Mau, who were Kenyan freedom fighters rebelling against the British, were all set to attack the Kijabe mission station and slaughter the missionaries and the children who were there. When they saw angels ringing the compound they wisely decided not to attack it. I have talked to Kenyan men who were there, and they have verified that fact. God’s angels were there at His direction to protect His children.
We have no idea how ugly sin would be were it not for the restraining activity of angels at the direction of God. Sin left unrestrained would result in activity that would make events such as the Holocaust seem like child’s play. But God has set limits on sin. Satan is not all powerful and is still accountable to God.
We have no way of knowing the extent to which God uses angels to protect us. Perhaps when we get to heaven we will understand how often God sent His angels to protect and care for us. There are times when we get a hint that He is protecting us like when we have a near miss of a car accident. I am sure we will discover when we are with Him that He has protected us a lot more than we can ever imagine.
In a more personal way, there is the question of “guardian angels.” Do each of us, as a Christian, have a guardian angel? Before I answer that let me note that nowhere in Scripture is there any indication that everyone has an angel watching over them. Hebrews 1:14 talks of ministering spirits or angels that watch over the heirs of salvation, which is a description of a Christian. Read Psalm 91:11. Then read Psalm 91:14 to discover to whom that promise is made. Read Psalm 34:7, That is not to say that God does not send His angels to care for non-Christians, especially in response to the prayers of Christians, but it is not automatic. God said He sends the rain on the just and the unjust and He can send His angels to care for the unjust also.
Do we as Christians have a guardian angel? Historically the church has been divided on that. Some of the early church leaders talked of a guardian angel only for Christians. Some said every soul that is born has one while others did not believe anyone has a guardian angel.
There are 2 verses that are used to show that Christians have a guardian angel. Read Matthew 18:10. In that passage the angels could be in heaven not on earth, depending on how the Greek is translated. If they are in heaven, then they hardly qualify as a guardian angel here on earth.
In Acts 12:1-15 Peter was released from prison by an angel and went to the house where Christians were praying for him. A servant girl answered the door but instead of letting him in she rushed to tell the others that Peter was there. Read Acts 12:15. In that passage it was a confused household who declared it was his angel, but in reality, it was Peter himself. We are not told there that he had an angel, only that some thought so.
Elsewhere, whenever there is talk of angels looking over us, it is always in the plural indicating that God has charged many with our care. Angels are available continually at God’s command, but God is the one who cares for us, not angels.
The idea of our having a personal guardian angel is very appealing. It is great to think that I have with me an angel whose sole responsibility is me. If you think you have one, you must be extremely careful how we respond to that belief. We need to guard against giving glory, directly or indirectly, to the angel and not to God. Dr. David Jeremiah wrote, “Angels are sent, but the messenger is never more important than the sender.”
The second danger is that it is too easy to assume that if we have an angel always with us, we are safer than we really are and therefore forget our constant dependence upon God who is always with us. God is our strength and the One who cares for us. He has not, however, promised to protect us from our stupidity.
Finally, an angel will escort our souls to heaven when the time comes for us to die. We will not be alone. Read Luke 16:19-31. Note that in verse 22 there is no mention of an angel in relationship to the death of the rich man. It is the Christian who will be ushered from this life into the presence of God.
Angels are God’s servants and because He loves us He directs the angels, who were created to serve Him, to care for us on His behalf. What a marvelous God we have!