Follow the Example of Christ's Humility Page 3 of 3 (series: Lessons on Philippians

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

even death on a cross!
The climax is in the word “cross,” and it must have deeply impressed those whose citizenship made them exempt from that hideous form of capital punishment which was reserved for slaves and foreigners. He humbled Himself to the accursed “death on a cross.” There were no lower depths possible, for the cross stands for the whole curse of God upon sin. It is humiliation, incomparable, unrepeated, and unrepeatable.”

[8} He humbled himself—to lower; to make low; two humble; to humiliate; to take the lowest place

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

The word “therefore” connects verses 6-8 and 9-11.

This is the turning point in the great drama of redemption. In the first part of this passage attention has been focused on the self-humbling of Christ, but now God takes the initiative by advancing Christ to the place of highest honor. The exultation which Christ experienced when He went to heaven was not only the resumption of the glory which He had before the incarnation (John 17:5), but the added Glory of triumph over sin, suffering and death, and the fulfillment of God that in His death He would reconcile the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). It was in recognition of this achievement that he was given a name which is above every name, the name of Jesus.

As the reward for Christ’s obedience unto death, God highly exalted (raised to a high point of honor) Him, and graciously gave to “him the name that is above every name.” “The name that is above every name” can only be the name “Lord”, which is the word used in the Greek version of the Old Testament to render the unutterable name of God; YHWH.

Paul emphasizes not only what Jesus did but how He did it. The Son of God died for our sins on a despicable Roman cross as the suffering Servant. He won, not by pumping Himself up but by pouring Himself out. And that is why God the Father honors the Son in such a glorious fashion.

Christ selflessly chose to lower Himself. As a result, His Father gladly chose to exalt Him by giving Him a title that exceeds all other earthly titles of Kings, presidents, prime ministers, and emperors. God honored Christ with the name of Lord! No mere human has legitimately aspired to this designation, though some have tried. But no person in the history of humanity has been able to elude the sure-fire sign of frail humanity—death. Sins wages have doomed us all. But Jesus lived a righteous life. He alone conquered death through resurrection. He is in a category by Himself.

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

This expresses the purpose of the exultation. In adapting the words of Isaiah 45:23 for His purpose (Romans 14:11), Paul here transfers to Christ the universal homage which is there claimed by God. “At the name of Jesus” means “in recognition of it, or of the authority and majesty of Him who bears it . . . If beings bow in recognition of “the name of Jesus,” it is to Jesus Himself as bearing such a name, that they offer homage. What the apostle has in view is the future submission of all intelligent beings before Christ, whether by choice or by compulsion. The first are all the blessed angels and the saints in heaven; the second are all the men on earth; and the third are all the demons and the damned in hell. The three groups include all created personal beings. All shall bow in submission and make this acknowledgment or confession with either joy and bliss or dismay.”

The point he makes, or you might say the bottom line, is that the same person who suffered humiliation and crucifixion becomes, not only by means of His person but by means of His triumph, the one to whom all must bow. This leads to the conclusion that all men, whether righteous or unrighteous and all angels, whether holy or fallen, will someday be forced to confess and bow before the Lord Jesus Christ. The sad fact is, however, that that reluctant confession will be too late. Men have their opportunity to receive Christ today. As Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” We can choose to worship Him as Lord and Savior either now or later. Whoever chooses the latter needs to realize that worshiping Christ is not a matter of IF but WHEN and WITH WHAT CONSEQUENCES. After death and in the consummation of human history when Christ judges the world, it will be too late.

11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
In affirming that “Jesus Christ is Lord,” Paul is echoing the earliest creed of the Christian church (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3). This confession of the present Lordship of Christ which is already made within the context of the churches’ worship thus anticipates the universal recognition that will follow at the parousa. “Paul has the exalted Jesus in mind and is speaking of Him.

to the glory of God the Father.
Paul fittingly concludes with a doxology expressing the ultimate purpose of Christ’s exultation (vv. 9-11). “Christ as God has the right to the adoration of the universe, but as God-man He has for His special service received a special investiture. He could not be worshiped at all, if He was not God, and He is now worshiped on this peculiar ground, because He has done and suffered as the apostle tells us. But the prime place is occupied by “God the Father,” to whom service was rendered by Christ, while the success of such service and its consequent reward by the Father are the source of Glory to Him. In the honor paid to His exalted Son, His own character is more fully seen and admired.”

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