A Message notes on a sermon by Pastor Ewings based on Daniel 12:1-3
For hundreds of years, artists have used halos to depict a saintly character. The perfect circle radiating with glowing beams is a symbol of purity and innocence that has stood the test of time. But, not everyone in a picture gets a halo. You need to have done something pretty impressive to have that golden ring crowning your head. Jesus gets one because He’s the Son of God. Mary gets one because she was the mother of God. But not even all of the disciples end up with a halo hovering over their heads. If the hosts of Heaven were handing out halos, would you be a recipient?
While we don’t know if we’ll get a halo in Heaven, you and I know full well that we won’t get a halo on earth…that would be silly. But, if that’s the case, why do we expect one? Not literally, of course. But figuratively, there are many times when we view ourselves as innocent, beaming with an aura of light. We’d like to think that we already shine with the brightness of the heavens and that our brilliance is like the stars. There are times when we view ourselves as saints and the rest of the world—even people in our own church—look like they’ll be lucky to make the cut for Heaven, let alone wear a halo if they get there.
It’s important for us to remember that while we are saints of God, we are not saints triumphant yet. We still fight daily battles against sin, the devil and his demons and death itself. Jesus has delivered us eternally but we still struggle daily. We still play the part of a sinner willingly and certainly are deserving of God’s righteous wrath eternally. The last thing we deserve, with all of our failures and faults, is a halo.
We call today Saints Triumphant Sunday and even if we understand that God sees us as saints, it might be harder to see ourselves as triumphant. Do you feel like you’re triumphing over anything? So often it seems like we’re crushed down and defeated. So many are struggling in their family lives, so many are struggling with their physical health, so many are struggling with great and shameful sins. Does that sound like victory? Does that sound like people who are triumphant?
The most triumphant part of our day is when we confess our sins to our God and hear Him announce that He has made us saints. While we live on this earth, we are the saints militant, waging war against our sinful nature. Yet we find our victory in the same place where all the saints triumphant have found theirs: not in the appearance of holiness hovering over our heads but in the real righteousness that comes from Jesus. You are a saint today; you will be a saint triumphant in Heaven—with or without a halo.
Lesson 1: Daniel 12:1-3
Lesson 2: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Gospel: John 5:25-29