D.A. Carson on Angels in Hebrews

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) has released a short series of videos featuring Dr. D.A. Carson lecturing on the book of Hebrews.

Now then, the author hasn’t quite fully finished with his treatment of angels, but now he really spins out the argument in a different direction. In [Hebrews] 1:5 to the end of [verse] 14, he’s really talking about the Son’s superiority over angels, but the last verse, 1:14, gives a hint of where the argument is going before the embedded warning: “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” So, in other words, not only is the Son superior to angels, but angels must be distinguished from human beings who inherit salvation. And the argument is going to go on to point out that there has arisen a redeemer for fallen human beings, but not for fallen angels. When the eternal Son joined us, he did not become an angel, he became a human being. That’s the thrust of the argument. And thus, the angels themselves are not only not the Son, but they’re not the redeemed either; they’re rather ministering spirits sent to help the redeemed. So what on earth are you doing fastening your attention on angels? We’re the redeemed, not they; and Christ is Lord, not they.

—D.A. Carson

This quotation is from the second video from the series TEDS Lecture Series: D.A. Carson on the Book of Hebrews.

What the Gospel Fixes

If the gospel is the good news about what God is doing in Christ to rescue and redeem His rebellious image bearers, we must constantly bear in mind what it is we are being rescued from. The reason is that we will gain a clearer grasp of the gospel if we hold a clear grasp of the desperate situation the gospel addresses.

If we see that we are guilty, we will understand that for the gospel to be effective it must clear us of our guilt; if we are alienated from God, we must be reconciled to Him; if we stand under His judicial wrath, that wrath must be propitiated.

If we are estranged from one another, we must be reconciled to one another; if the entire created order lies under the curse, the curse must be lifted and the created order transformed; if we are, morally speaking, weak and helpless (as well as guilty), we must be empowered and strengthened.

If we are dead, we must be made alive; if the heart of our idolatry is abysmal self-focus and the de-godding of God, God must be restored in our vision and life to His rightful glory. In other words, we gain clarity regarding the gospel when we discern what the gospel addresses, what it fixes.

If we focus on just one element of the desperate need—say, our broken horizontal relationships—then by ignoring all the other dimensions of our sin, including the most fundamental dimension, namely, our rebellion against God and the consequent wrath we have rightly incurred, we may marginalize or even abandon crucial elements of the gospel that address our sin.

After all, the Bible speaks of the wrath of God more than six hundred times. If we cannot grasp how the gospel of Jesus Christ addresses all these dimensions of our desperate need, we will invariably promulgate an anemic and truncated gospel.

—D.A. Carson
“What is the Gospel – Revisited” published in
For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper

Via: Tolle Lege