Saturday, 7 January 2017
…and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:11
One must understand the context fully in order to make a right determination about this verse. First, Paul wrote about Christ’s emptying Himself and coming in the form of a bondservant and in the likeness of man. Then he entered into the glory of what that has resulted in –
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Therefore, the words “that every tongue” are given in accord with the list provided in verse 10, meaning “those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.” It is an all-inclusive statement. From angels to demons, and from the living to the dead, all tongues “should confess.”
The word “confess” signifies a frank and open confession. No sentient being is excepted, and all will confess openly and without a doubt, “that Jesus Christ is Lord.” These words, in particular, necessitated understanding the context. What does it mean when Paul says, “Lord?” Albert Barnes argues that –
“The word “Lord,” here, is used in its primitive and proper sense, as denoting owner, ruler, sovereign; compare the notes at Romans 14:9. The meaning is, that all should acknowledge him as the universal sovereign.”
His words are true, but they fail to fully explain the meaning of “Lord.” The term kurios, which is used here, means exactly as Barnes described, but there is more to be understood from it. The Old Testament Greek translation of the Bible translated the term “Jehovah” as “Lord” again and again. These are the Scriptures that Paul and the other apostles most frequently cited, and this is what Paul is conveying here.
Although the term kurios doesn’t adequately and completely explain the divine name, neither does the Hebrew term Adonai which is often used in place of Jehovah. However, it gives us an understanding of who is being referred to. The context of verse 2:6, and the all-encompassing statement given in verses 10 & 11 demand that kurios is, in fact, speaking of Jehovah. Only with this intent do the final words of the verse have their fullest significance. Paul says that all will confess Jesus as Lord (meaning Jehovah) “to the glory of God the Father.”
How can this be? The answer permeates Scripture, but a few verses draw the two together as One in the Godhead –
“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:22, 23
“I and My Father are one.” John 10:30
“Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:23
The intimate relationship between the Father and the Son is highlighted so that we can understand what God has done. He has united with humanity and dwelt among us. The two are One in essence. Jesus is Jehovah ever revealing the unseen Father to us.
Life application: Paul’s confession in Romans 10:9, 10 is asking us to believe exactly what is relayed here today. We are not merely acknowledging that Jesus Christ is a sovereign over us, but that He is our God. If you do not recognize the Son in this capacity, you do not have the Father. It is time to apply the truth of Scripture to your life for the salvation of your soul.
Heavenly Father, Your word tells us without any ambiguity that if we do not have the Son, we have no part in You. What You did through Jesus Christ can be shunned, it can be denied, it can be ignored, but it cannot be separated from the truth. Either we will bow our knees to Jesus Christ to Your glory now, or we will do it at our condemnation, but either way the knee will bow. Thank You for the chance to come home to You now through the glorious work of the exalted Christ, our Lord Jesus. Amen.