Why Didn’t God Save Fallen Angels?
John Owen gives his answer in Vol. 1 on his commentary on Hebrews, in Part 2, Excercitation VII.14.
Preliminarily, Owen establishes that God may have justly rescued angels from their sin, but that justice does not obligate God to do so. While the same could be said for God’s redemption of man, there is such a difference between the original transgressions of angels and men that God’s righteousness is more gloriously displayed in withholding rescue from one, and that this reflects good concern for God’s glory being displayed in universe.
1. Angels were created in a higher state than man, in the highest heaven, while man was placed on earth. Earth is good and suitable to man, but not as glorious as heaven.
2. In heaven angels were tasked with attending the throne of God, to minister to him, give glory to him, to execute his commands of providence, all of which together are the highest honors given to creatures. Man was given the duty of cultivating the ground, which while good, is below the vocation of angels.
3. Angels enjoyed the immediate presence of God without a mediator resembling themselves. Man was kept at a greater distance and without such direct communion with God.
At this point Owen affirms that this does not excuse the grievousness of man’s sin, but greatly aggravates the wickedness, ingratitude, and pride of the angels…
What is the Gospel?
Patrick Ramsey at Meet the Puritans rhetorically asks this question, and cites Paul Levy’s satirical 2011 article on the subject,
Our church is a gospel church that is gospel crazy for gospel living. We believe that gospel discipleship makes gospel people who create gospel change and gospel dynamics. We believe in gospel administration for gospel organising. Gospel youth work is essential for gospel kids. A gospel welcome for gospel needers!
Ramsey argues that the gospel isn’t simply the announcement of news (Levy’s position, as well as Michael Horton’s and Tim Keller’s mentioned in the article), but does include “advice”. Ramsey relies on Anthony Burgess (a Westminster Divine and hero of mine) to make the case for a narrow and broad definition of the gospel, and I think is generally correct. But I wanted to take a stab at defining the gospel, and avoid the “narrow v. broad” paradigm for an organically expanding definition that encompasses both the news of what Christ has done and the need for response…
Anthony Burges on the Definition of Justification
…If the word [justification] should signify as much as ‘to make righteous’, as to sanctify does signify ‘to make holy’, still we could grant it, though not in the Popish way; and indeed the Apostle [in] Rom. 5. says, ‘many are made righteous by the second Adam’, which if not meant of inherent holiness, does imply, that the righteousness we have by Christ is not merely declarative, but also constitutive; and indeed one is in order before the other, for a man must be righteous before he can be pronounced or declared so to be…so that there are these two things in justifying, whereof one is the ground of the other, first to make righteous, and then to pronounce or declare so.
-Anthony Burges, The True Doctrine of Justification.
Christ is an Undivided Priest
Andrew Roycroft has an excellent summary of John Owen’s argument in The Death of Death in the Death of Christ for particular atonement by virtue of Christ’s undivided priesthood. In this case it is the priesthood of Christ Jesus which…
Eate, Eate me, Soul, and thou shalt never dy
I am the Living Bread: Meditation Eight: John 6:51 I kening through Astronomy Divine The Worlds bright Battlement, wherein I spy A Golden Path my Pensill cannot line, From that bright Throne unto my Threshold ly. And while my puzzled…