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  • Joshua Carpenter

Luke 2:8-14 - Angels We Have Heard on High

You might not be thinking about Christmas this week, but the angels sure are!


 

Luke 2:8–14 (NIV)


8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”


13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 

Listen to passage & devotional:


 

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 12: The Creation of All Things


We believe that the Father

created heaven and earth and all other creatures

from nothing,

when it seemed good to him,

by his Word—

that is to say,

by his Son.


He has given all creatures

their being, form, and appearance,

and their various functions

for serving their Creator.


Even now

he also sustains and governs them all,

according to his eternal providence,

and by his infinite power,

that they may serve man,

in order that man may serve God.


He has also created the angels good,

that they might be his messengers

and serve his elect.


Some of them have fallen

from the excellence in which God created them

into eternal perdition;

and the others have persisted and remained

in their original state,

by the grace of God.


The devils and evil spirits are so corrupt

that they are enemies of God

and of everything good.

They lie in wait for the church

and every member of it

like thieves,

with all their power,

to destroy and spoil everything

by their deceptions.


So then,

by their own wickedness

they are condemned to everlasting damnation,

daily awaiting their torments.


For that reason

we detest the error of the Sadducees,

who deny that there are spirits and angels,

and also the error of the Manicheans,

who say that the devils originated by themselves,

being evil by nature,

without having been corrupted.

 

Summary


In our Western world, the belief that spiritual forces are real has faded as something from a bygone age. However, as we take a look at Scripture, we see clearly there are spiritual beings - both angels and fallen angels.


On the other hand, there are so many misconceptions surrounding them that run in from popular culture, so it’s important to turn to Scripture to see what it has to say concerning both angels and fallen angels. We'll look at angels today, and fallen angels tomorrow.


The Bible speaks of all sorts of things that angels do: praise God (Ps. 103:20), serve the inheritors of salvation (Heb. 1:14), watch over those who believe in Jesus (Ps. 91:11), etc. But the primary task of angels are as messengers of the Lord. We see this many times throughout Scripture, but especially we see it at the birth of our Lord, in Luke 2:8-14 when an angel appears to shepherds out in the field. The angel “bring[s]...good news of great joy that will be for all the people,” declaring the birth of “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” after which more angels appear and praise the Lord (ESV).


Our Confession particularly highlights that “God has also created the angels good, that they might be messengers of God and serve the elect.”



Dig Deeper


People are fascinated by angels and their work. We are curious about these spiritual beings that we find throughout the pages of Scripture. One of the things that we find in God’s Word concerning angels, is that angels long to look into things concerning our salvation, as we read in 1 Peter 1:10-12 (esp. V. 12).


John Calvin, in commenting on this passage, writes: “It is indeed the highest praise to the gospel, that it contains treasures of wisdom, as yet concealed and hidden from angels,” and then a bit later: “...Peter only means that such things are promised to us as angels desire to see fulfilled. Paul says that by the calling of the Gentiles the wonderful wisdom of God was made known to angels: for it was a spectacle to them, when Christ gathered into one body the lost world, alienated for so many ages from the hope of life.” Calvin goes on to mention how much they look forward to the completion of Christ’s Kingdom.


It is truly amazing, brothers and sisters, that the grace and the salvation that we have received through Christ, which we especially celebrate this week, that angels long to look into those things.


It is good for us to learn what Scripture has to say about angels; all the while, may we stand in awe of the amazing grace that we have received through Christ, the amazing gift of salvation, of reconciliation with God.



  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: "Glory to God in the highest heaven!"

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will have the same longing to know the gospel message that the angels in heaven have;

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

Read the New Testament in a year! Today: James 1

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