Monday, September 27, 2010

"The Divine, the Angelic, and the Human"

The Bible teaches that three primary classifications of personal and conscious beings exist, namely, the Divine, the angelic, and the human.

The classifications can be further divided.

Existing in the Divine, or one God, are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 1:8; Job 26:13). God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are spiritual in their essence and personhood, while God the Son spans both the Divine and the human. The Lord Jesus Christ is the person of the Godhead who became man, and the man who will always be God. "God was manifest in the flesh... there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 3:16; 2:5).

Angels are spirits in their personhood and essence, although the Bible does reveal that some of them may occasionally take on human form, as God wills (Hebrews 13:2; Genesis 18). Existing among angels are those who are faithful to God, and those who joined Lucifer in his rebellion, and who are now aligned with him against God. "Bless the LORD, ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word... the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (Psalm 103:20; I Timothy 4:1; Revelation 12:4). The angels are also divided into various hierarchies of rank, function and responsibility. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).

Human beings are earthly and fleshly in their original physical birth, but possess the potential for spiritual being through the Lord Jesus Christ. "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you" (Romans 8:9). The categories of humanity include the spiritually alive and the spiritually dead (those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and are alive in Him, and those who have not, and are "dead in trespasses and sins" - Ephesians 2:1). Believers, while equal in our personhood and standing before God, are also divided into various hierarchies of rank, function, and responsibility. "We have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness" (Romans 12:4-8).

We live our lives in the scope and involvement of all three primary categories and their subdivisions. The fact of God far transcends the angelic and the human because "in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). The person, work, and dynamic involvement of our Creator/Redeemer is the great fact of our existence, providing for us "life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25). Our lives teem with Divine reality, although even the most godly among us presently "see through a glass darkly" and are thus able to grasp a mere portion of God's loving saturation in their lives (I Corinthians 13:12).

The angelic and the human also greatly affect both our experience of time and eternity.
Faithful angels are "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation" (Hebrews 1:14). Their ministry to us is not specifically defined in Scripture to any great degree. Therefore, while we know it to be a present and beneficial reality, we are also aware that the involvement of angels in our lives is not meant to be a primary spiritual focus. They quietly and humbly serve the heirs of salvation, rightly directing all attention to the Lord Jesus who guides and enables their ministry.

Fallen angels are demonic entities that likely have far more influence in our lives than we realize, and their subtle ability to disguise their existence and involvement may be their greatest weapon. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8). Again, we must avoid overmuch focus on these spiritual entities, but it is nevertheless vital that we acknowledge and respond to their existence according to Scriptural teaching. Great harm awaits any believer who fails to be "sober" and "vigilant" concerning the fact of malevolent spiritual influences that seek to hinder the glory of the Lord Jesus in our lives.

Finally, we are all aware that we live with our fellow man to our benefit and detriment, and to his. However, we likely do not realize this to the degree that we should. We are our "brother's keeper," and everything we do and don't do somehow influences others for the glory of God, or for the clouding of His honor and reputation (Genesis 4:9). The Apostle Paul referred to himself as "servant unto all," and the indwelling love of Christ in believers means that self sacrificial involvement with our fellow man is the firstfruits of authentic involvement with God (I Corinthians 9:19). "This commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also" (I John 4:21).

This is written as introduction to a theme we will likely address more pointedly in future devotionals. We must be aware of those with whom we live our lives, again, the Divine, the angelic, and the human. The Bible addresses all three categories, and we do well to grow in our understanding of each.

"Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise Him in the heights. Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts... Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: let them praise the name of the LORD: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven" (Psalm 148:1-2; 11-13).

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