In his exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, Thomas Manton provides biblical insight, pastoral application, and enthusiastic advice. Jesus prays in Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (NKJV)
In developing the idea of the execution of God’s will on earth like it is in heaven, T. Manton discusses the angels. One thing I love about the Puritans is they were extremely practical. “How does this apply to my life?” was a question they incessantly asked of every passage of Scripture.
Manton mentions four ways you and I can minister like the angels.
“IN CONFORMITY TO THE ANGELS, WE MUST SERVE GOD READILY” (148)
As Scripture pictures angels with wings (see Isaiah 6:2) to execute God’s will swiftly, so we must seek to do God’s will in haste. Manton remarks in his typical fashion, “It is not enough to keep God’s commandments, but we must make haste; that is, before the strength of the present impulsion be lost, and those fervours which are upon us be cooled.” (Manton, “Works,” Volume 1, 148)
One way to minister like the angels is to do so immediately.
“WILLINGLY AND CHEERFULLY, WITHOUT MURMURING” (148)
How many of us are guilty of begrudgingly serving our Lord? We ‘do’ His will because we have to do so. In this we are more like the devils, as Manton remarks, than the angels.
He writes, “When we do things with reluctancy, murmuringly, we are more like the devils than the angels. When the devils obey his word, they are forced to do so by the absolute power of Christ; yet they do it not with willingness and freeness, as the good angels do.” (Manton, “Works,” Volume 1, 148)
Does our execution of God’s will mimic the angels, or the demons?
“CONSTANTLY AND UNWEARIEDLY” (148)
We are prone to weakness of the body. Our spirits give up after long bouts with temptation. We are reminded to “not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9, NKJV)
This is why a daily time with God is so vital. We need God’s grace to be saved. We need God’s grace to be like Him. Manton remarks, “God in communion is ever new and fresh to them; the face of their heavenly Father is as lovely as at the first moment; no weariness or satiety creeps upon those good spirits. Thus should we do it without weariness, and then we shall reap if we faint not.” (Manton, “Works,” Volume 1, 148-149)
Be like the angels and constantly do God’s will (in His strength, of course!).
“FAITHFULLY, NOT PICKING AND CHOOSING” (149)
The angels do God’s will regardless of what it is. For personal edification, using a concordance (or a online Bible), look up angels and see the variety of tasks to which they are assigned. They always do God’s will.
Like the angels, you and I are assigned different tasks. Perhaps we are given a glorious work (like announcing the arrival of the Messiah, Luke 1:8-14). Or, we may be given a behind-the-scenes task (like ministering to saints throughout the ages, Hebrews 1:14). Either way, we never read of angels bucking at God’s will or only doing part of it.
One important point Manton makes is, “‘They hearken to the voice of his word,’ whatever it be, be it to ascend or descend. So we, if it be to go backward for God, though it be against the bent of our hearts.” (Manton, “Works,” Volume 1, 149)
Has God called us to descend? Let us do it with trust in our sovereignly, good Heavenly Father.
These are four ways we can minister like the angels. Let us always, in all places, circumstances, and experiences, pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10, NKJV)