"His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." Ephesians 3:10-11
The above passage is one of the most thought provoking and awe-inspiring passages that I have encountered up to this point in my journey of faith. I have taught on it (see message titled "Mystery" in the media content of this site), but obviously I can only scratch the surface of what could be said about this passage.
One of the incredibly intriguing things about this passage is the idea that God uses the Church to teach a lesson to the "rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms." To be quite honest, I am still not completely sure that I understand that fully - check that - I'm positive that I don't understand that fully. At least, though, I think a plain understanding of the text leads me to believe that somehow, someway, God is teaching something to the angels and demons (real, created heavenly beings that exist in a realm that is unseen but of equal reality to our own).
I have always envied the idea of the communication of God with angels....with a "fly on the wall" kind of envy. The Scripture communicates a number of ways in which God instructs angels to do certain things, though it seems that God's primary purpose is that they are created to carry out the desires of the heart of the Father. What is of equal interest is that it seems that they are free beings as well (evidenced by the rebellion of some who were initially loyal to the Father). But it would certainly seem to be pretty cool to have God give you some face to face instructions about stuff, or talk to you about what He wants you to do and why ("Hey Angel, Jerry is about to do something stupid again. Go and stall his car in the 20 degree Buffalo winter so he is held up long enough to avoid the wreck he would probably get in by falling asleep at the wheel since he has no business being out until 1am watching the March Madness Championship Game" - as an example...that is probably not a good one).
It's not shocking to anyone that you and I might envy the conversations that the angels are privy to. What would be shocking is if they were envious of the conversations we were having with God. Now, when I use the term "envious" I am using it loosely - not in the sense of vice. But, that said, imagine the angels scratching their heads at us...wondering about the things we talk about.
Things like grace. Forgiveness. Redemption. Transformation. Things that angels really don't understand.
As God's image bearers (humans) and new creations (believers in Jesus), we are confounding to the angels. They just can't understand us when we sing songs of redemption in Jesus because it is a song only we can sing. And the demons? Well, they can't seem to believe that God would use such imperfect and less-than-noble characters like me and you to accomplish His purposes in the earth.
But he does. And He does it to demonstrate that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was an incredible statement of (curiously and miraculously) His wisdom. The cross and resurrection of Jesus birthed a new kind of humanity that was neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, but was an altogether new creation through belief in Jesus Christ. And this new creation - the Church - was, and is, a marvel to this world and the unseen world. It's very cool to think that God takes the angels and demons to graduate school in His wisdom by pointing to us - the Church.
Here's hoping that we remain a usable object lesson.