The Gospel — “Things into which angels long to look”

1 Peter 1:8-12: 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

We have been blessed by God with an enormous blessing in his gifting us with his holy word. Rather than leaving us alone to our devices, our Heavenly Father has faithfully preserved narrative, prophesy, teaching, and instruction for thousands of years. The Holy Spirit works in the heart of the Christian, through the word of God to bless us with encouragement, conviction, hope, and understanding. In this way, more privileged are we than any people who’ve come before us, even the prophets of old.

If you’re like me, when you think of the Old Testament prophets penning their revelations, you see an old, bearded guy with his eyes glazed over in some trance-like state. He sits at his desk and is basically a divinely-appointed typewriter, writing whatever God puts in his mind. This is not a great way to view the authorship of the Bible. God wrote the Bible through men he chose, called, and inspired. In this way it is authored by the Holy Spirit, while written by the hand of man.

And 1 Peter 1.10-11 paints us a different picture than our bearded, automaton written of above. It shows us an image of the prophets asking God for an answer, poring over the scriptures in search for an explanation as to what God has revealed to them. They were desperate for meaning in the words they wrote, and verse 12 tells us that God didn’t tell them all they wanted to know. God’s answer was basically, “This isn’t for you so much as for your future people.” They were serving us in the things they wrote, and these things have been explained and revealed to us, through the preaching of the Gospel, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

My favorite part of this passage is the last line, “things into which angels long to look.” If you’ve ever been the short guy in a crowd of people, you’ll get the image being used here. You lean left and lean right, sometimes you stand on tipped toes, you even jump occasionally, desperate to see the sight you’ve all gathered for. That is what the angels do in seeking to look into the mystery of the Gospel.

This passage is one of encouragement and conviction to me. I’m encouraged by God’s faithfulness to his people, to preserve his word as a blessing for his people. But I grow convicted by the longing of the prophets, and the effort of the angels to see and understand the Gospel in whole. Where is that longing in our day? Where is the effort put into our searching of the Bible and inquiring of God for a full understanding of his mysterious Gospel?

Let us be students of the word. Let us plead with the Holy Spirit for a better, fuller knowledge of his plan of salvation. And let us grow in our affection for the word, longing like the angels to look into the glories of God’s salvation.

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