In chapter three Paul attempts nothing less than giving us a complete philosophy for human history, which had never been attempted before. He came to know that angels were watching the church in order to gain wisdom on the purpose of God for mankind.
EPH 3:8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
EPH 3:9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things;
EPH 3:10 in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
There are many aspects to God’s plan for the human race. Certainly, the major one is the salvation of man. There is the plight and experience of the unbeliever who reveals God’s grace and mercy by rejecting it and reaping the results. There is also the experience of the believer in this age, who is blessed with the very life of Christ and all the assets of Christ’s inheritance.
It is the believer who is serious about his relationship with Christ that the angels focus on the most.
We are not told this in scripture, but we conclude that if an angel desired to know the manifold wisdom of God by looking at members of the church, he would look for those who are living in that wisdom, just as if he wanted to know how to perform any skill well, he would look at those who are proficient.
1PE 1:10 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry,
1PE 1:11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.
1PE 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things into which angels long to look.
When the angels follow the life of a believer who gets it, who has faith that the only life is the Christ-life, who loves and pursues the grand purpose of God, who is a diligent and serious student of the word of God, he would notice many aspects of his life that are different than anyone else’s.
It would be a lengthy and fruitful study to categorize all the ways in which an angel might recognize peculiarities in diligent believer’s life, but that is not something we’re going to do here and now. My emphasis is on his suffering.
All people suffer. Angels would see that as it’s not difficult to see. Some suffer more than others, and at a surface glance this seems quite unfair. Looked at more deeply and through the lens of divine revelation, the unfairness melts away.
Though all people suffer, positive believers suffer differently.
The cause of suffering is the same - sin. However, the positive believer differs from all others when dealing with sin (done by himself or others against him), as well as in his desire pursuit of a solution.
In the world, solutions to pain are always temporary reliefs that after time only bring more pain and further entrench the problem, making it harder to remove. We don’t want the foundation to go deeper. We want the whole thing out.
The longer I practice a certain category of sin the deeper it will become entrenched. By this I mean a trend that when I am tempted by it, I almost always fall into sin. It is a monster that doesn’t harass me all the time, but when it does, I am powerless against it.
HEB 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
HEB 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith
Please notice that sin is the object of verse one and fixing our eyes on Jesus is the writer’s encouragement where we find help.
HEB 2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
HEB 2:18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
HEB 4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
HEB 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
HEB 4:16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted; He sympathizes with our weaknesses and with that grace and mercy calls us to the throne of God to find help; and He invites us to fix our eyes on Himself since He was able to endure and has promised that both He and His power are in us to do the same.
There is a connection between Christ’s suffering and our own, even though He only suffered undeservedly.