ANGELS WANT WHAT WE HAVE

The title of this post may reveal a pompous attitude, which may be partially true, but my hope isn’t to boast in us but rather our inheritance that has been given in Christ.

As I am reading 1 Peter 1 this morning, I am struck by the joy of Christianity.  We have a God that none of us can see (see John 4:24), and yet we “believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible” (1 Peter 1:8).  The measure of joy we have when delighting in God is too great to be described with a human language.  Scripture implies that our joy is so great that angels want it.  That’s right, sinful, broken, utterly depraved human beings have something that spotless, seraphs and angels long to understand.  What could they possibly want that they don’t have access to?  After all, they live in heaven with God himself, right?

To angels, Jesus is Lord.  To sinful humanity, Jesus is Savior and Lord.  To angels, Jesus is Creator.  To sinful humanity, Jesus is Creator and Redeemer.  To angels, Jesus is the Son of God who takes away the sins of the world.  To sinful humanity, Jesus is the Son of God who takes away our sin and shame.

God decided that sin, the very thing that disqualifies us from being in God’s presence, is the only thing that qualifies us for the gospel.  You see, none of us have spent our natural born lives climbing toward heaven -we were sprinting on the highway to hell (see Rom. 3:9-18).  Instead of giving us what we wanted (sin), God chose to carry the cross of Calvary for you and I.  God shows his unquenchable love in that while we were just wretched sinners, Christ bled and died for us (see Rom. 5:8).

 Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would have given anything to be in on this! (1 Peter 1:12, MSG)

THE SABBATH, THE SHADOW, AND THE SUBSTANCE

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In the biblical account of creation, God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh (Gen. 2:2).  In creating man, God made us in his image (Gen. 1:27).  Throughout the Scriptures we find a concept of working hard for a period of time, gathering the resources needed, and taking a time of rest where we can enjoy the resources we have collected.  The Bible calls this a Sabbath.  In Hebrew, the word Sabbath directly translates to mean “rest” or “day of rest.”

1. God created us to Sabbath (rest).

Right now I am planning a small get away for my wife and I.  Like any planned vacation, I began to flesh out some of the details: how much time we would be in the car, where we would need to spend money (you can donate if you want), etc.  Then I started to think about all the unknowns we might encounter.  You know, will the hotel turn out to be sketchy?  Will we be forced to eat at McDonalds for every meal or will we actually come across a Chick-fil-A?  Will we run out of gas between point A and point B or will Siri lead us to springs of oil?  In an instant I went from looking forward to some sweet sabbath with my wife, to stressting out about all the stupid trip details.

2. Sabbath’s on earth are needed, but they are only Shadows.

Stressing out about vacation details isn’t necessary or helpful.  It is just one of the results of hanging our hope in the wrong place.  When we look forward to time of rest in a way that neglects our ultimate Place of rest, we get out of whack.  Have you ever gone to the same vacation place more than once?  If you have, you might remember the first time you went being absolutely glorious.  Yet the next time you go back you find your experience to be sub-par compared to your first trip.  This is normal for everyone.  C.S. Lewis gives us some great words of wisdom regarding this line of thought:

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy,
the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.

3. Jesus is the Substance of our Sabbath.

We were not created for a Sabbath -Sabbaths were created for us (Mark 2:27).  In other words, God didn’t create us for vacation, making earthly rest an ultimate goal.  Don’t get me wrong, vacations are good –they exist for us.  BUT we were designed for something far greater than a Sabbath.  We were made for Jesus.  He can give true rest for the weary, strength for the weak, and joy to the joyless (Matt. 11:28, Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 16:11).  Jesus is the essence of our Sabbath.  “the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God” (Ex. 20:10).

So take vacations and take a day off for pete’s sake -those were made for you to take, and the world doesn’t ride on your shoulders.  Just don’t lean all your weight on them.  You will be failed by them every time.  Jesus is our true vacation place, and at the same time, we can find our home in him.

You are my holiday
You are right in the middle of me
You are my hideaway
You are home

(Shane and Shane, “Holiday”).

The Way and The Life

[Christ] is, at one and the same time, the ultimate means of relating to God and is himself the object of homage or worship (David Peterson, Engaging With God).

Jesus is both the means of our worship and the object of our worship.  That’s right, he is at one and the same time, the key that unlocks the treasure chest and is himself the treasure within the treasure chest.

John 14:6 ultimately shines the light on this reality when Jesus tells us that he is “the way..and the life.”

  1. Jesus is the way.

Like a sponge, Jesus soaked up all of our sin.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says that “he became sin.”  Not only did Jesus carry the weight of our transgressions, but he also paid for it by absorbing the wrath of God on our behalf when he hung on the cross.  Colossians 2:13-14 informs us that we were dead in our sin, but God made us alive.  How did God find a way to make us alive?  In Christ!  God cancelled the debt that stood against us by nailing the record of our sin to the cross.  Jesus is the way!

  1. Jesus is the Life.

Understanding that Jesus is the way of salvation can be illustrated by a bridge that connects two different sides.  On one side of the bridge we find our selves, dead in sin.  On the other side of the bridge we find new life IN Christ.  Jesus is the bridge that makes a way for salvation.  His death on the Cross paid for our pardon from eternal death.  And while Jesus made a way for salvation, he is also the essence of salvation.  When we walk across the bridge Jesus’ death on the cross provided what do we find on the other side?  Jesus!  In Christ, we have crossed over from death to life and Colossians 3:4 tells us that Christ is our life.  Philippians 1:21 says it this way, “To live is Christ.”  Jesus is the life!

Can you see that Jesus is the remedy for lost sinners as well as the eternal boast of those he has saved?  Jesus has paid for our salvation.  He is the essence of our salvation.  We were created to live in this reality.  Let’s savor him for all that he is and has done!