Philippians 3:21

Thursday, 16 February 2017

…who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:21

Speaking of “the Lord Jesus Christ” of the previous verse, it is He “who will transform our lowly body.” The term in Greek is “the body of our humiliation.” We have a form which at this time is weak, corruptible, and corrupt. However, this body of humiliation will be transformed into another form. Paul notes that it is the Son who will accomplish this transformation into the marvelous image which He now bears. This is referred to elsewhere, such as in 1 Corinthians 15:38 where the term “God” is used –

“But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.”

Therefore, this is another (of the countless such in Scripture) references to the deity of Christ Jesus. If God gives the body as he pleases, and yet it is the Lord Jesus Christ who will transform our lowly body, then He is God. This transformation is so “that it may be conformed to His glorious body.” The term in Greek is “the body of His glory.” It then is set in contrast to “the body of our humiliation” which we now bear. The form itself will be changed, and we shall be like Him. John tells us this also –

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2

The marvelous transformation will be from a state of humility to one of glory which is “according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” What is now frail, easily harmed or destroyed, and which is corrupt and in a state of  humiliation, will soon be fashioned according to the same power by which Christ will subject all things, bringing them into the order and harmony which they were originally intended to be in.

Vincent’s word studies notes that, “It is more than merely subdue. It is to bring all things within His divine economy; to marshal them all under Himself in the new heaven and the new earth in which shall dwell righteousness. Hence the perfected heavenly state as depicted by John is thrown into the figure of a city, an organized commonwealth. The verb is thus in harmony with Philippians 3:20. The work of God in Christ is therefore not only to transform, but to subject, and that not only the body, but all things.”

Life application: Chapter 3 of Philippians closes out with these marvelous words of assurance, and even of great expectation of the glory which lies ahead. Joy for the believer is not merely the absence of pains and sorrow. Rather, it is the ever-present hope which we possess because of the work of Christ, and of the glory which lies ahead. Our current body may be broken, filled with pains, or incapable of standing up to the surrounding pressures we face, but what lies ahead will be whole, filled with glory, and capable of lasting throughout eternal ages. Let us not weary in anticipating the great glory which lies ahead. It is our blessed hope.

Lord God, the body we now possess is one which is fraught with pains, pressures, times of sadness, and eventually a state of death and corruption. But for the believer in Christ who has gone before us in the resurrection, we have the promise of a new and glorious body which will be ever-whole, free of stress and burdens, filled with the ability to experience eternal joy, and one which will never grow weak or weary. Let the world come against us now if that is our lot, but we shall triumph over this fallen existence and be transformed in to a body of glory. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen.


Leave a Reply