Blogging the Institutes | 1.14.10-11 | Why God Uses Angels

“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List

Why God Uses Angels

When people begin to say that angels give us all blessing, be on the alert; false teaching is creeping in! We typically think that angels should receive all honor and glory. But when we do this, Christ’s glory gets obscured. The adoration of angels is probably one of the oldest heresies. Even the apostle Paul had to battle an undue exaltation of angels (Colossians 1:16, 20). Christ is not only superior to angels but they receive everything from him! We must never turn to angels who are sufficient to save us by themselves. We must cling to Christ. Since God’s glory is often reflected in them, we can often be tempted to worship them. Even John confesses that this was his own case as he says in Revelation (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). But the angel himself said, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”

We will avoid such heresies if we consider why God uses angels. He doesn’t have to use angels, of course. Often, he passes by angels and does what he wants to do directly by his own power. When God uses angels, it is instead for our benefit. For example, It should be sufficient enough for God to tell us that he is our protector. But when we see ourselves surrounded by so many difficulties, we often despair. So the Lord gives us his gracious presence through the means of angels. He not only takes care of us but also assures us that he has numberless workers who are in charge of our safety. Whatever dangers we face, we are placed beyond the reach of evil because angels encircle us and protect us.

I admit that after we receive assurance of divine protection, we shouldn’t still look around for other things to protect us. But since the Lord is pleased to provide for us in our weakness, it would be wrong to overlook his favor.  The servant of Elisha serves as an example (2 Kings 6:17). He saw the Assyrian army and n means of escape. He was completely overcome with error. Then Elisha prayed to God to pen the eyes of the servant, and he saw the mountain filled with chariots of fire – a multitude of angels for protection. Strengthened by the vision, he receive courage and boldly defied the enemy.

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