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pastors' blog

Becoming an Angel

Posted on November 7, 2011

This past summer someone asked me, “How do we become angels?” It was a sincere question, prompted by pain and confusion. This person had recently lost a child, and people had tried to comfort this grieving parent by saying that the lost child had become an angel.

I share the question for at least two reasons. First, many of us wonder what happens to after death. Do our loved ones become angels?  And if so, do they watch over us now?  Is your deceased family member now your guardian angel?

Second, angels have become popular, not only in Christians circles, but also in the broader “spirituality.” This shared belief in angels by radically different religious world views has led to much confusion about who and what angels are.

So then, “How do we become angels?”

Biblical Answer #1: We don’t.

Humans are humans and angels are angels. God created angels and people as distinct entities. “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor” (Hebrews 2:6-7).

And even in heaven, angels and victorious saints worship side by side, but still as distinct types of beings. In Revelation John reports seeing both angels and redeemed humanity standing before God’s throne as distinct groups (Revelation 7:9-11).

Biblical Answer #2: Becoming an angel would be a step down for a Christian.

God created angels not only to serve and worship him, but also to serve his saved sons and daughters. “Are not angles ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit eternal life?” (Hebrew 1:14). Becoming an angel would be a step down, not a step up.  Paul dropped a bombshell when he asked, “Do you not know that we will judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:3).

It appears we should be asking a different question. The more important question is, “How can I become a child of God?” If God has a glorious future for his children, even more glorious than for angels, one that transcends death, then how can we become part of his family?

The answer: We can’t. Well not on our own, anyway. We can’t be religious enough, good enough, or spiritual enough to earn adoption into God’s family or somehow evolve into it. We are sinful rebels who live as God’s enemies.

But the amazing news of the Bible is that God sent his true Son, Jesus, to die for our sins and then rise again. And now we can be forgiven and adopted into God’s family by renouncing our sin and trusting in Jesus.

“But to as many as received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:14).

Our deceased loved ones are in God’s perfectly loving and just hands. He will do what is right and good. Let us be concerned for our own souls. So don’t settle for hopes of angel-hood. Put your hope in Jesus who alone can welcome sinners into God’s family.

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