How Are We Better Off than Angels or Prophets?
1 Peter, Day 4
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 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.
- 1 Peter 1:10-12, ESV
Do you sometimes get jealous of other people? Honestly, don't we all sometimes? For a pastor who knows the truth and teaches the truth, I can sometimes be very petty and materialistic. I can covet my neighbor's Corvette or Durango SRT in a heartbeat. I can also find myself wishing I were more talented, a better singer or a better artist. And then, I have times when I see other people's kids behaving perfectly or being really respectful and polite, and I can be jealous of that, too.
The "bitter root of jealousy" is so bitter partly because it blinds us to how truly blessed we are. We can miss our tremendous blessings when we're focused on what we wish we had that we see others enjoying.
Today's passage in 1 Peter gives us some great perspective: The prophets of God who wrote most of the Old Testament and then angels of God, who have such incredible power, would love to be as blessed as we are. Did you ever realize you were more blessed than angels and prophets?
The Old Testament prophets heard from God directly. They had supernatural dreams and visions and received oracles from God. Yet they knew that all of the redemptive promises in their prophecies were pointing ahead to one glorious figure, the Messiah, the Christ, God's Anointed One. And they longed to know when Christ was going to come and fulfill God's redemption for His people. They were told they were not going to see the Promised One.
Hebrews 11:39-40 puts it this way: "And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect." (ESV) "God provided something better for us." Or, as 1 Peter 1:12 puts it, "they were serving not themselves but you." Think about the privileges we enjoy: We know the Lord's Christ is Jesus of Nazareth, and we have received the blessings of all of the promises He came to fulfill. This is our salvation - the forgiveness of our sins, adoption as children of God, a new heart, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a secure inheritance in heaven, an unshakable kingdom with King Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.
This salvation we have received is so great that, not only did the Old Testament prophets long to see it, but the very angels of God long to look into it. The angels are the powerful warrior-messengers of God. They have power to defeat the most powerful armies in the world and were present and played key roles in every stage of God's redemption story. Yet they themselves don't receive the benefits of redemption. Angels are not forgiven; they are either fallen or unfallen. Angels are not adopted as children of God; they are only servants of God. The Gospel is good news for human beings, not for angels.
So, the next time you have a foolish bout of jealousy strike you, pull back and get some perspective: We have been so blessed that angels and prophets desire what we have received. Now, instead of being jealous, let's give thanks!