Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Origin of Sin Concerning the Angels

In An Exposition of the Epistle of I John [ISBN 1-888514-01-9], Samuel E. Pierce (1746-1829) carefully describes the origin of sin concerning the angels while maintaining the sovereignty of God.  He contends:

"God was pleased to display his sovereignty towards all the angels created by Him.  He secured some of these to himself, so as to render it impossible they should ever fall from him, by appointing Christ to be their Head of union and communion with Him, and by so guiding their wills as to render them impeccable: whilst it pleased Him to leave all the rest of the then angels of his presence to the mutability of their own wills.  Thus sin received its being and existence.  The non-elect angels fell: not through any act of God within them, compelling or inciting them so to do; but from their own free will as creatures: by which exercise of their wills, they rejected God's will in setting up the God-Man, to be the one Lord between God and the whole creation.  This was open rebellion against the Divine Majesty.  For this they became what they now are.  They acted thus as left to the free exercise of their wills.  And in the very first instance of the same, it was their free will act.

I ground this on the following scripture.  'And the angels which kept not their first estate,' or principality, 'but left their own habitation.'  Does not this imply their own free will?  They 'left their own habitation.'  This most certainly was their act.  Not the Lord's.  What follows upon it was the Lord's act towards them.  'He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.' Jude v. 6.  I might add this scripture also out of Peter.  'For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.' 2 Epis. ii.4.  Observe, sin was first committed in heaven, or these sinning angels could not have been cast out of it.  Their being cast out of it, was an act of God's righteous displeasure against sin: which is a transgression of the law.  The angels were created under a law.  Their obedience to which would have been perfection of their natures.  They sinned against it.  That was their crime.  Damnation for it, was the righteous and holy expression of God's indignation and wrath against them for it.  So that there is no unholiness in Him," (pp. 44-45).

"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all," (1 John 1:5).