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What About Angles?

As you know, we are in a sermon series known as You Asked For It.  Each week I respond to a question that one of you submits with a sermon.  This week we turn our attention to the subject of angels.

Angels are fascinating, not only to Christians, but to the wider culture as well, and it’s not hard to understand why. Unlike God, angels are on our level.  As Gene Edward Veith puts it in a Tabletalk magazine article, “[angels] take care of us, but they are ‘non-judgmental.’  This new ‘spirituality,’ unlike traditional ‘religion,’ makes no demands, has no moral restrictions, and helps us feel good about ourselves. We get the good parts of religion—a sense of meaning, mystical experience, and life after death—without what Flannery O’Connor called ‘the sweat and stink of the cross.’” In our increasingly secular age, when church attendance is down, and interest in the message of the gospel is fading, angels still hold an immense power of attraction.

Although I am not exactly sure at this point what how I will be approaching the subject of angels in my sermon, I want to use this space to speak to a few commonly asked questions about angels.

 Question #1:  Do you become an angel when you die and go to heaven?

When someone dies, you might hear some well-meaning Christian offering comfort to a grieving family by saying something like this:  “Well, God has another angel.” Sometimes families have a baby who dies and they’ll say, “Now, God has another little angel.” That’s fantasy.  Here’s the fact:  We don’t become angels when we die and go to heaven. God created angels to be angels and He created people to be people. 

Question #2:  Do we have guardian angels?

In Matthew 18 Jesus makes a statement regarding children and says, “Their angels behold the face of My Father who is in heaven.”  That text is loaded with information and speculation. First of all, it tells us that when infants die they go to heaven because they are next to the Father and their angels behold the Father’s face. But these words of Jesus also imply that maybe we are given a guardian angel.

Question #3: Why are so many people who want nothing to do with God drawn to angels?

In this day and age, a lot of people are into spirituality but are not into God.   Angels are regarded by some as being more accessible than God.  A quote from Time Magazine reflects this belief:  “For those who choke too easily on God, His rules and His judgments, angels are a handy companion, full of fluff, non-judgmental, available to everyone just like aspirin.”

 Today’s cultural spirituality is filled with sentimental angels who are assumed to exist on their own without the Lord of Hosts. This, of course, is how Satan, the chief of the fallen angels, wants it. His angels, whether in the guise of evil monsters, or cute babies with wings seem to have free reign. And yet, one little Word can fell them.