The sons of GOD enjoy a position of the greatest favor among all of the LORD’s creation. Though the LORD made man a little lower than the angels insofar as status and power are concerned, yet it is to the children of GOD that the WORD of GOD is revealed in all of its splendor. The angels desire to look into those things which are made clear to HIS elect among men. (see I Pet.1:12) These angels have beheld CHRIST suffering under the load of sin and even ministered to HIM in HIS most trying hours, yet they did so as servants rather than sons. (see Mat. 4:11; Luke 22:43) They can see everything that CHRIST has done yet can only observe these things in wonderment without having a personal interest in them as the objects of HIS redemption.
The LORD told us that there is joy in heaven over a repenting sinner (see Luke 15:7), and can we not imply that those heavenly creatures who are sent to watch over the sons of GOD (“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb 1:14)) are among those who rejoice? Yet they cannot “repent” nor understand what it is be an heir of salvation. Did they not observe a multitude of their own number cast out from the presence of the LORD? “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Rev 12:7-9) “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 1:6) There was no space of repentance given nor any demonstration of mercy in that event but only a demonstration of the swift and immutable judgment of GOD.
One can only imagine their amazement in seeing this same LORD of Glory, take upon HIMSELF the likeness of sinful flesh, in order to be identified with those who are sinners of the worst sort and rebels against the Kingdom of GOD. They are, no doubt, even more greatly astonished as HE submits HIMSELF unto the death of the cross in order to purchase the redemption of these insurgent ingrates, while satisfying the claims which HIS law had against them. How can such things be, they wonder, as they silently stand guard at HIS tomb until the morning of the third day. They cannot quite grasp the sadness which gripped the heart of Mary as she looked in the empty tomb, “And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?” (John 20:13)
Contrast that with the same words spoken by CHRIST just a few moments later. HE spoke words of comfort and blessing to Mary, being touched with the feelings of her infirmities, encouraging her to rejoice in HIM as her risen LORD. Once again these angels which accompanied the LORD in HIS ascension could only wonder why HIS disciples stood gazing into the heavens as HE left their presence. They had no understanding of the desire which was in the heart of each one to remain in HIS company as they heretofore had been. (see Acts 1:10,11)
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us of two kingdoms. One which could be “shaken” and another one which could not. One is the kingdom of the Law given to Moses. The other is the Kingdom of RIGHTEOUSNESS given by JESUS CHRIST. The first “kingdom” was temporary or of limited power because it could not continue by reason of the fact, that those who are its subjects could not abide under it. It could only minister death because it was weak through the flesh. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom 8:3) This kingdom could be and was shaken and could in no wise ever deliver one of its subjects unto life.
Therefore, he says, “For ye are not come unto the mount(i.e.; that kingdom) that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest.” (Heb 12:18). Then he goes on to say, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Heb 12:22-24)
This is quite a contrast and one which must be understood if one is to understand the deliverance which is brought to the sons of GOD by the LORD JESUS CHRIST in HIS redemptive work and complete fulfillment of the Law. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) Paul speaks of the usefulness of the law as well as its limited purpose and power in his letter to the Galatians, “But before faith(i.e.; before the unfolding of the gospel which has brought life and immortality to light) came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Gal 3:23-25)
The Law is good, it is just and holy, but it can only minister condemnation instead of life. Therefore it was necessary that the “patterns” (see Heb.9:23) be replaced by a more perfect law which Paul describes to the Romans, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom 8:2) This is a LAW which can never be shaken because it is a LAW which is in no wise dependent upon the activity of sinful flesh. This is a LAW whose power is in the LAWGIVER who is the PERFORMER of the same. “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Gal 2:19-21)
In every age there are those who continually try to bring the free born sons of GOD back under that Law given to Moses. They generally tell us that this Law is divided up into two parts, one which they call the “ceremonial law” (i.e.; the dietary restrictions and sacrifices) and the other which they call the “moral law”. (i.e.; usually defined as the Ten Commandments) They tell us that CHRIST has fulfilled the “ceremonial law” by HIS death on the cross and that HE has indeed forgiven us for our many sins, while leaving us HIS example of lawkeeping which we are to imitate to the best of our ability. We are told that we are not set free from the law itself, but that HE has left it hanging over our heads like the “sword of Damocles”, lest we think that salvation is “all” of grace, and embrace our sinful flesh.
The LORD shakes this “kingdom” and the rotten fruit falls by the bushel, for any righteousness which is defined by an adherence of flesh and blood to a moral code cannot stand the test of true RIGHTEOUSNESS which can be found in CHRIST alone. That man whose HOPE is built upon the perfect fulfillment of the law by CHRIST will never be ashamed. “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven” (Heb 12:25)