Greek: kai pasa glossa exomologesetai (3SAMS) hoti kurios Iesous Christos eis doxan theou patros
Amplified: And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Westminster Press)
KJV: And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Lightfoot: and every tongue with praise and thanksgiving shall declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, and in and for him shall glorify God the Father
Phillips: And that is why, in the end, "every tongue shall confess" that Jesus Christ" is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: and in order that every tongue should plainly and openly declare that Jesus Christ is LORD, resulting in the glory of God the Father
Young's Literal: and every tongue may confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
AND THAT EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS: kai pasa glossa exomologesetai (3SAMS):
- Ps 18:49; Mt 10:32; Jn 9:22; 12:42; Ro 10:9; 15:9; 1John 4:2,15; 2John 1:7; Rev 3:5
ONE DAY THERE WILL BE NO
ATHEISTS OR AGNOSTICS!
Paul presents the second phase of Jesus' dominion over all creation. Not only will all men realize Christ's Lordship but they also will vocalize it. Even the tongues which have vilified and blasphemed the wonderful Name of Jesus will one day bless Him, by faith or force and this will result in further glory unto God the Father. Amen.
EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS: Paul is quoting from the Septuagint of Isaiah 45:23 "That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance (kai exomologesetai pasa glossato theo)."
Every (3956) (pas) means all without exception!
Tongue (1100) (glossa) is literally the tongue but as used in this context represents a spoken language. Paul's point is clear. No matter what language a person speaks now, every language will declare Jesus’ lordship.
John MacArthur - intensive form of homologeō (to confess, agree with) and refers to an open, public declaration. At the time about which Paul is here speaking, however, such a confession will not lead to salvation, because that supreme blessing will already have been received or forever forfeited. Before death or the Lord's return, the promise is that "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Ro 10:9). But as the apostle makes clear later in that same letter, in the day of judgment that confession will not change the spiritual status of those making it.
Confess (1843) (exomologeo is from ek = out, out from + homologeo in turn derived from lego “to speak” + homos “the same” and so literally meaning to speak same thing that another speaks” or to agree with someone else) means to acknowledge, admit openly, agree fully, recognize or to express agreement with. Exomologeo means also to publicly declare. The sense here is that of frank, open confession.
Some day, the entire universe (including Satan) will publicly declare and openly acknowledge Jesus as Lord, agreeing with God the Father regarding the testimony which He has given concerning His Son. Today is the day of salvation. All who confess Jesus as Lord do it by faith. The day is coming when ALL MEN and EVERY ANGEL will confess BY SIGHT that Jesus is Lord!
It is important to note that this passage does not teach that ultimately all the lost will be saved, as taught by many cults. There is no passage in Scripture that teaches future reconciliation for the lost.
Keith Krell adds "Not all will be saved but all will confess that Jesus is Lord. Here is your choice: Trust Him today as your Savior from sin and spend eternity with God and with those who love Him, or confess Him when you stand before Him as the Lord of creation and spend eternity separated from Him."
Although the entire creation will one day confess Jesus as "Lord", only those who do so during their life will be saved by that confession, Paul writing that...
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10-note)
The writer of Hebrews explains that when Christ returns the Second time it will not be for salvation writing that...
Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many (His First Coming), shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him (Hebrews 9:28)
Comment: when Christ returns as "King of kings and Lord of lords" as John describes in Rev 19:16, it is not to take away sins but to rule and reign with those who confessed Him as Lord during their life and are longing expectantly to see Him.
THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER: hoti kurio Iesous Christos eis doxan Theou patros:
- Ps 110:1; Jer 23:6; Lk 2:11; Jn 13:13; 20:28; Acts 2:36; 10:36; Ro 10:9, 10, 11, 12; 14:9,11; 1Co 8:6; 12:3; 15:47)
- Jn 5:23; 13:31,32; 14:13,23; 16:14,15; 17:1; 1Pet 1:21
THE PURPOSE OF
Steven Cole has an interesting comment which while somewhat speculative could certainly be true in light of Php 2:11 - Years ago the well-known missionary, Don Richardson, spoke at our church in California. Over lunch after church, he shared an interesting theory he has about hell. He said that often hell is pictured as the demons and the damned blaspheming and cursing God. But, Don said, God isn’t going to allow that to go on throughout eternity. Rather, those in hell will forever acknowledge the lordship of Jesus.
Wuest - All creation will render such homage, whether animate or inanimate, whether in heaven, on earth, or under the earth. “Confess” is from a Greek word which means “to openly or plainly confess.” The word means “to confess” in the sense of “to agree with someone.” Some day, the entire universe will agree with God the Father on the testimony which He has given of His Son. The word means also, “to publicly declare.” It is used frequently in the Septuagint, and has the ideas of praise or thanksgiving associated with it. The word “Lord” is the translation of a word found in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, where it is used to translate the august title of God, Jehovah. (Philippians Commentary - Verse by Verse)
Guzik - The confession of Jesus Christ as Lord reminds us to consider the great significance of this word kurios, especially as it was be understood by the early church, who used the LXX as their Bible - where kurios was consistently used to translate the tetragrammaton, standing for the name Yahweh. We also should not miss the significance that at a later time in the Roman Empire, all residents of the Empire were required to swear an oath of allegiance to the Emperor, declaring that Caesar is Lord, and burning a pinch of incense to an image of the emperor. Though the Roman state saw this only as a display of political allegiance, Christians rightly interpreted it as idolatry - and refused to participate, often paying with their lives.. Paul has no doubt who is really Lord - not the Caesar whom he will stand trial before; Caesar may be a high name, but it is not the name above all names, the name which belongs to Jesus Christ!
The Lordship of Christ is the core of Christianity and the ultimate purpose of all creation acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord is that God the Father might be glorified.
Jesus (2424)(Iesous) is transliteration of the Greek Iesous, which in turn is the transliteration of the Hebrew name Jehoshua (Yehoshua) or Jeshua (Yeshua) which mean Jehovah is help or Jehovah is salvation. Stated another way the Greek Iesous corresponds to the OT Jehoshua (Yehoshua) which is contracted as Jeshua (Yeshua).
NET Note on Jesus - The Greek form of the name Iēsous, which was translated into Latin as Jesus, is the same as the Hebrew Yeshua (Joshua), which means “Yahweh saves” (Yahweh is typically rendered as “LORD” in the OT).
One of my favorite (older) choruses is Jesus, Name Above All Names - YouTube
Jesus, Name above all names,
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.
Emanuel, God is with us,
Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.
Christ (5547)(Christos from chrio = to rub or anoint, consecrate to an office) means one who has been anointed, symbolizing appointment to a task. The majority of the NT uses refer to Jesus (exceptions = "false Christs" - Mt 24:24, Mk 13:22).
Christos is translated in the NAS 1995 edition as Christ (516x), Christ's (11x) and Messiah (4x - Mt 1:1, 16, 17,2:4). The NIV and ESV never translate Christos as Messiah, but always as Christ. The Holman Christian Standard Bible has an interesting approach and translates Christos as Messiah many times depending on the context (see explanatory note) The NLT paraphrase translates Christos as Messiah over 80 times. The NET translates Christos as Messiah in Jn 4:29, Acts 3:20, Eph 2:12.
Many interpreters over the ages have commented on a possible wordplay between the Greek words for good (chrestos) and Christ (Christos), which as you note differ by only a single Greek letter. Whether a wordplay is intended or not, every believer can personally attest to the truth that Christos is chrestos!
See also discussion of related word Messiah = messias
"CAESAR IS LORD" - Rome required only that taxes be paid and that everyone be required to say, “Caesar is Lord.” That’s all—just three simple words. Say “Caesar is Lord,” and then go on about your business. Affirm that Caesar was sovereign and then follow whatever religion suited you. For many people in the Empire, that was no big burden. But Christians steadfastly refused to say, “Caesar is Lord.” They simply wouldn’t say it. How could they say, “Caesar is Lord” when their faith taught them that “Jesus is Lord?” They could not and would not deny Christ. And that is why during the days of persecution, Christians were slaughtered, murdered by the thousands, crucified, burned at the stake, run through with the sword, and thrown to the wild animals. This was the great dividing line that Christians would not cross. Chuck Colson notes that in the first century, if you stood in a public gathering and cried out, “Jesus is God!” no one would be upset. But if you shouted, “Jesus is Lord!” you would start a riot. Let us be crystal-clear about this. Rome did not persecute Christians because they believed in the deity of Christ, or that Jesus was the promised Messiah, or that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. Rome did not kill Christians because they said Jesus is the only way of salvation. Those were “religious beliefs” that did not threaten the state. But when Christians declared, “Jesus Christ is our Lord, and there is no other!” that was a direct attack on Caesar-worship, and thus punishable by death.
EXAMPLE OF POLYCARP Bishop of Smyrna in the second century:
Now, as Polycarp was entering into the stadium, there came to him a voice from heaven, saying, “Be strong, and show thyself a man, O Polycarp!” No one saw who it was that spoke to him; but those of our brethren who were present heard the voice. And as he was brought forward, the tumult became great when they heard that Polycarp was taken. And when he came near, the proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was, [the proconsul] sought to persuade him to deny [Christ], saying, “Have respect to thy old age,” and other similar things, according to their custom, [such as], “Swear by the fortune of Caesar; repent, and say, Away with the Atheists.” But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven, said, “Away with the Atheists.” Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, “Swear, and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ; ”Polycarp declared, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?”...The proconsul then said to him, “I have wild beasts at hand ; to these will I cast thee, except thou repent.” But he answered, “Call them then, for we are not accustomed to repent of what is good in order to adopt that which is evil; and it is well for me to be changed from what is evil to what is righteous.” But again the proconsul said to him, “I will cause thee to be consumed by fire, seeing thou despisest the wild beasts, if thou wilt not repent.” But Polycarp said, “Thou threatenest me with fire which burneth for an hour, and after a little is extinguished, but art ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. But why tarriest thou? Bring forth what thou wilt.” (See also Polycarp's Martyrdom)
C. S. Lewis explained our options regarding Jesus this way
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him or kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
Keith Krell applies this section - Surprisingly, the primary application of this passage is for the believer. The implication of Paul’s argument is that many believers need to bow the knee and confess with the tongue that Jesus is God in every area of their lives. In the course of my Christian life, there have been areas that I have included or excluded Jesus from. What I was saying is: “Jesus, you can be God in this area, but you can’t be God over this area. I want to keep this area for myself and I will be my own God.” Paul’s point is: One day you and I will bow the knee and confess with the tongue at the judgment seat of Christ that Jesus is God/Lord over every area of our lives. This is Paul’s point in Rom 14:11 when he quotes Isa 45:23.50 My desire is to bow now and confess now that Jesus is God over area of my life. What area of your life have you excluded Jesus from (e.g., your marriage, family, work, church, personal life)? Today, will you invite Him to take over this area of your life because He is Lord and God? The good news of this passage is that God will exalt believers who humble themselves. In the future, God will reward a life lived now in self-denial. That is the obvious implication of Paul’s illustration. Perhaps you think it is selfish to serve the Lord for a reward? Was it selfish for Jesus to endure what He did because He knew He would receive a reward? Motivation is the key. If you submit to God and to others for the glory of God rather than for selfish glory, as Jesus did, your motivation is correct and He will reward you. The way up is down. (Work Your Way Down the Ladder)
G. Fred Bergen, director of the orphan homes founded by George Muller, knew something of the example of Christ when he said, “Tell my younger brethren that they may be too big for God to use them, but they cannot be too small.”
Lord (2962) (kurios) describes one who has absolute ownership and uncontrolled power and is the translation of a word found in the Greek translation of the Old Testament to translate Jehovah. Lord is the title of majesty, authority, honor, and sovereignty. At His Second Coming Jesus Christ will manifest sovereign authority over all creation.
Wiersbe ties this profound doctrinal teaching in Philippians 2:9-11 with the idea that Paul is trying to teach the saints at Philippi about the futility of disunity and discord writing...
The kind of rivalry that pits Christian against Christian and ministry against ministry is not spiritual, nor is it satisfying. It is vain, empty. Jesus humbled Himself for others, and God highly exalted Him; and the result of this exaltation is glory to God. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
A T Robertson discussing the name "Lord" writes that...
Kennedy laments that the term Lord has become one of the most lifeless in the Christian vocabulary, whereas it really declares the true character and dignity of Jesus Christ and “is the basis and the object of worship.” (Greek Word Studies)
If you adore Christ as your Savior, you won't ignore Him as your Lord. (Our Savior And King) In his sermon on Pentecost Peter declared...
"Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ-- this Jesus whom you crucified." (Acts 2:36)
Thomas who at first doubted Jesus' resurrection, was compelled to confess Him as Lord when presented with the clear proof of His deity...
The other disciples therefore were saying to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, "Peace be with you."
Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing."
Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:24-31)
Thomas Constable writes that...
The exaltation of Jesus Christ is as much a motivation for the Christian to live a life of submissive humility as is His incarnation. God will reward a life of self-denial now in the future. That is the obvious implication of Paul’s illustration. Is it not selfish to serve the Lord for a reward? Was it selfish for Jesus to endure what He did because He knew He would receive a reward? Motivation is the key. If we submit to God and to one another for the glory of God rather than for selfish glory, as Jesus did, our motivation is correct. (Tom Constable's Expository Notes on the Bible)
William MacDonald puts this section into the context of the letter noting that...
Before leaving this magnificent passage on the Person and work of the Lord Jesus, we should repeat that it was introduced in connection with a minor problem in the church at Philippi. Paul did not set out to write a treatise on the Lord. Rather, he was merely seeking to correct selfishness and party spirit in the saints. The cure of their condition is the mind of Christ. (Ibid)
Steven Cole - Application of the Teaching:
1. The exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ is an encouragement to humility.
This is Paul’s primary application in the context. If Jesus is the exalted Lord, we’ve got to dethrone self. We are to follow our Lord in His example of laying aside His rights and taking the form of a servant. Because He humbled Himself, God highly exalted Him. Jesus taught, “For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Lu 14:11). It would be wrong to think that Jesus was motivated to go to the cross by the thought of being exalted afterwards. He went to the cross out of love and obedience to the Father and love for you and me. But being exalted was His reward. Our motivation to humble ourselves should be love for God and others, because of His great love for us. But, if we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, He will exalt us at the proper time (1Pe 5:6).
2 The exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ is an encouragement in trials.
Jesus endured the cross, and the Father strengthened Him and gave Him grace for that awful ordeal. The cross, the resurrection and subsequent exaltation of Jesus shows that God can transform the most grotesque of human sins against us into the greatest of divine triumphs. Any suffering or tragedy we face can redound to the glory of God.
The great British preacher, Charles Spurgeon, knew this encouragement from Christ’s exaltation. When he was only 22, his popularity had spread throughout London. Thousands were flocking to hear him preach. To accommodate the crowds, his church rented the Surrey Gardens Music Hall, which seated at least 10,000. The opening service there was Sunday, October 19, 1856. Word spread and when they opened the building, people crowded in, taking every seat, packing the aisles and stairways, while thousands more stood outside, hoping to hear through the open windows. When Spurgeon arrived and saw the crowd, he was almost overwhelmed. The service began, and everything seemed to be going well.
But just after Spurgeon began to pray, the place was thrown into confusion. Some in a gallery shouted, “Fire!” Another on the ground floor shouted, “The balconies are falling!” A third voice cried, “The whole place is collapsing!” People panicked and began rushing for the exits, but there was no room. Some fell through the balcony railings to the floor below. As some rushed out the doors, the crowd outside saw it as their opportunity to get a seat and began rushing in. Spurgeon tried to calm everyone, but before it was over, seven people had been crushed to death, and 28 others had been severely wounded. The whole thing had been orchestrated by enemies who were jealous of Spurgeon’s popularity and wanted cause to bring him down.
Spurgeon himself was devastated by what had happened, so much so that a man who knew him well reported that 25 years later, when the event came up, Spurgeon was overcome with emotion. His critics used the event to bring all sorts of slander against the young preacher. Spurgeon withdrew for over a week, unable to preach or do anything. But as he walked in a friend’s garden, our text flashed into his mind: “Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.” As he meditated on the exalted Christ, he found strength, and when he returned to the pulpit, he spoke on these verses. Let them comfort you in a time of tragedy.
3. The exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ is an encouragement to evangelism.
The fact that every knee shall bow before Jesus as Lord, either willingly in this life, or forcibly at the judgment, should impel us to warn others to flee the wrath to come. The ultimate lordship of Jesus is the culmination of what God is doing in history, and we have a part in the work of His kingdom. Lost people need to see the serious consequences if they continue in rebellion. They need to repent of their sins, trust in Christ as Savior, and yield to Him as Lord.
4. The exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ is an encouragement to salvation.
If you have not bowed before Jesus as your Lord and Savior, do not delay! Today is the day of salvation; tomorrow you may have to face Him as Judge! Believing in Christ as your Savior and Lord requires that you humble yourself, because you must let go of the proud notion that you can save yourself. Your good works are not good enough. Only Christ can save. Let go of any thoughts that you’re good enough for the holy God. Turn from your sin and flee to Jesus.
“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. They will say, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him shall be put to shame. In the Lord all the offspring of Israel will be justified, and will glory” (Is 45:22-25).
The outcome is certain. The question is, On which side are you?
A Name Above Every Name. This is the other side of the subject we last considered. Then, we contemplated the descent; now, the ascent: the one, His humiliation; the other, the glory to which God hath exalted Him. We ought to put this passage alongside of Eph. 1:15-23, where the Apostle asserts that God displayed in the person of Jesus His mightiest power, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand, far above all principality and power, might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come. Indeed all through the New Testament the Father's agency in the exaltation of His Son is distinctly accentuated; and we are constantly reminded of the contrast between the action of men, who with wicked hands crucified and slew Him, and the action of God, who raised Him from the dead.
There are two interpretations, which are suggested by the Authorised and Revised Versions. We are told in the R.V. that God highly exalted Him, and gave Him the name which is above every name--the emphasis on the definite the; and if we should accept this rendering, it would convey the meaning that the infinite God gave to Jesus, His perfected Servant, His own incommunicable name of Jehovah. The name which is above every name is manifestly the name of Jehovah, which the Jews held to be so sacred that they never mentioned it, never even wrote it. It is important for us to realise that in Jesus Christ there blend at this moment the perfected beauty of the Man and the excelling glory of Jehovah--the glory which He had with the Father before the world was made. That is so deep and blessed a truth that we may be quite prepared to admit it is included in the meaning here, for our Saviour is God.
But after looking carefully into the matter from every point of view, it seems better to come back to the conclusion suggested by the Authorised Version--that the name of Jesus, which was given to Him in His birth, has been recognised as the highest type of being in the whole universe, and that this name, or more especially the nature for which the name stands, is the loftiest and supreme type of character, which is highly exalted above all other characters and types of being.
The Name of Jesus. His is the conquering name; the name which shall become victorious; the name which is destined to supremacy--the name of Jesus. It was given to Him first by the angel Gabriel, when in his annunciation to the mother he said, "Thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus." And when Joseph was considering whether or not he should put away Mary, then espoused to him but not yet married, the angel of God, in a dream, told him to take to himself Mary his wife, because she would bear a son, to whom they must give the name Jesus. This name of Jesus was borne by our Lord throughout His earthly life, and often used by His apostles after His ascension, as the spell and talisman of victory, when they wrought miracles in His name. It is repeatedly referred to in the Epistles, and especially in that to the Hebrews, and evidently stands for the highest type of being. In the whole realm of existence this is the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, the Saviour, every knee should bow in heaven, in earth, and in Hades.
HERE IS INSTRUCTION
(1) We obtain instruction. We are familiar with the phrase, "Survival of the fittest"; by which we understand that amid the shocks and collisions of creation certain types of creature-like, stronger than others, broad-shouldered and powerful, have pushed their way to the front, and have crushed out the weaker.
Amid the strife chronicled by history, certain races of mankind inevitably go down, whilst others forge their way to the front and hold positions of supremacy. Similarly, in the life of the world around us, where everything is being searched and tested to the uttermost by the ordeal of time, probation, and trial, certain types of character are constantly being thrust downward, or hurled against the wall in the impetuous rush, whilst others come easily to the front. Thus, perpetually, different types of ideal and character are acknowledged as supreme.
As we look around us, in the great arena of life, we are often disposed to imagine that the type of character represented by power, by the giant's grip, by sinew and muscle, is the supreme and victorious one. At other times we are disposed to think that the type of the scientist and philosopher, the man of wise thought and penetrating investigation, is the elect, the ideal type. Again we are disposed to think that the man of wealth, who by his ingenuity has succeeded in accumulating a fortune or in building up a great business, exhibits the ideal type. Thus amid the cross-lights of this world we are greatly perplexed; for when we turn to the life of Jesus Christ, the sweet, gentle, serf-denying, and forgiving life, which appeared to be unable to hold its own against the antagonism and malice of men, we are apt to conclude that that type at least is too tender, too gentle, too retiring and unobtrusive to become the dominant type. Yes, we exclaim, the race is to the strong, the sceptre for the wise, the throne for the man of wealth; but the cross is for the character that lives to love and forgive and save. It is good, therefore, to come into the sanctuary of God, to leave behind us our newspapers and novels, the standards of the marketplace and the forum, and to submit our minds beneath the influence of this word which lets in eternity upon time, which allows the light that plays around the throne of God to strike in upon us; and, as we see things for one brief hour, not from the standpoint of our fellows, but of the angels--not judging by the standards of this world, but by those of the other world into which we so soon shall come---we shall find that the dominant type of character which is to endure, to last supreme when all other types of character, which men have worshipped and idolised, have passed away as the mists of winter before the summer, is the name and nature of Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of men.
This is what God hath chosen. Here is the survival of the fittest. Here is the supreme conception of character. This, this is what eternity enthrones. This is what dominates angels and demons. The nature that stoops, loves, forgives, saves; this is the ideal type. God hath given Him a name above every name--Jesus, Saviour.
HERE IS ENCOURAGEMENT.
(2) We get great encouragement. It is of infinite importance to know what God loves best. We are destined to live with Him for ever, to see Him face to face, and be for ever in His presence. It is of the highest importance, therefore, to us, to know what is His chosen ideal, that we may begin to shape ourselves by it, that we may emulate it, that we may ourselves seek to be endued by it, so that hereafter we may be taken to the bosom' of God as His chosen friends and children. If we desire to know a man we must converse with him, enter his study, handle and look at his books, and gaze round the walls at the pictures he has chosen to adorn them.
If we know a man's ideal, we know him. If we can only get God's ideal, we may know Him. Where can we find it? In creation? ---No, not His deepest. In proverb and prophecy?--No, not His deepest. In angels excelling in strength?--No, not His deepest. In the perfection of moral character? That is nearer, but it is not His deepest. The name that is dearest to God is Jesus; and the character which is dearest to God is that which bears, forgives, and loves even to death, that it may save. That which God sets His heart upon for evermore is redemptive love, which He glorifies, raising it to the highest place that heaven affords.
"Ah, we will not fear Thee more, our God! We have stood under the thunder-peal hurtling through the air, and trembled; we have beheld the lightning-flash revealing our sin and making us cry for shelter; we have watched Thy march through history, and there have been traces of blood and tears behind on Thy track; and as we look out into the eternal future our hearts stand still. We are but leaves in the great forest of existence; bursting bubbles upon the mighty ocean of being; but when we come to see that Thine ideal is in the Divine Man who died for us, we fear Thee no more, but approach with the confidence of a little child; for if Thou dost love the Man Christ Jesus, and we love Him too, we can meet Thee in the Cross with its dying agony." It is a great encouragement to know that God's ideal is the Man who died.
Our God seems sometimes to come near us and say: "There is never a soul that stoops, stripping itself that it may wash the feet of another; there is never a soul that sheds tears over the ruin of those it loves, as Jesus did on the Mount of Olives over Jerusalem; there is never a soul that pours out its life-blood even unto death; there is never a soul that denies itself to the uttermost, that is not dear to Me. I notice it, though the great world passes by unwitting and careless; I bend over those who tread in the earthly pathway trodden by My Son, My well beloved; and though the midnight darkness may gather over the head, extorting the cry, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken?" I do not forget, I cannot forsake; and presently, when the earth has passed away like the shadow of the cloud upon the hills, I will gather such, and bear them upward, taking them to My bosom, and enthroning them right and left of My Son. He that drinks the cup which Jesus drank of, and is baptised with the baptism with which he was baptised, though forgotten, ignored, crushed and trampled underfoot by men, shall sit beside the Son of Man in His kingdom."
Oh, let us take heart, as we think of God's ideal; let us be encouraged, for now we know what God is, and that ultimately He will vindicate our work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope.
HERE IS EXHORTATION.
(3) We get exhortation. The name of Jesus is, then, dear to God. What then? Let it be your plea, for it is said that whosoever believeth in that Name shall receive remission of sins. Convicted sinner, longing to have a clue to the maze, go at this moment into the presence of the great God and plead the name of Jesus. Let your one cry be founded upon what He was, and is; and just so soon as you utter that name, in the spirit of the name, God accepts, forgives, and saves.
Follow Christ. Live in that name, in the temper and character of Jesus, day by day; let His Gospel imbue and colour your character; let the imitation of the Life of Jesus be the one object of your ambition. There is no other clue to life amid the misery and sorrow of the world. Sometimes it seems hard to remember that children laugh, that the sun shines yet, that the crocuses and snowdrops are preparing to break through the clods of winter. We live oppressed beneath the infinite anguish and agony of the world; it is so dark, so terrible with its sin and sorrow, with its overcrowding and drink and passion; and there is one's own broken life, and all the mystery and perplexity of God's dealings. We can find no clue to it except to follow the ideal of Christ, living to save; every day by patient and tender forbearance making someone happier; lifting the burden from some shoulder, sending a rift of light into some darkened heart. There is no other clue for the difficulty and perplexity of life.
Speak of Christ. Sunday School teacher, never let the lesson pass without allowing the Name of Jesus Christ to mingle with your words, like the breath of flowers in the summer air. Preacher, see to it that that Name rings through your utterances, your first word and your last. It is the only spell and talisman of victory; it is the one name that will overcome the power of the devil in temptation, and before which the evil spirits that beset us in our hours of weakness and depression give back. It is the watchword for those who approach the portals of eternity; the talisman of victory in the hour of death.
As soon as you utter the name of Jesus, you arrest the Divine ear. Therefore in every prayer, before you break out into adoration, praise, confession, or entreaty, speak in the ear of God that name. Remember that Jesus said: Whatsoever ye ask the Father in My Name, in My Nature, according to the ideal of My Life, He will give you. Let the name of Jesus winnow out of your prayers everything proud, selfish, and vindictive; let them be poured like liquid and gleaming metal into that precious mould.
Reverence His Name. Reverence that name. "In the name of Jesus every knee shall bow." Let us never utter it without the prefix Lord. Let Him be always the Lord Jesus. If God speaks His name with marked emphasis, we must treat it with devout reverence. I greatly shrink from too great familiarity with the precious name of our Lord. A man has to be very near the Great Brother who can call him familiarly by His name.
Confess Him. "And every tongue confess." Let us confess that He is Lord. God the Father has made Him His ideal type; make Him your ideal type. God has just put the sceptre into His hand, do you put the sceptre into His hand also. God has enthroned Him, do you enthrone Him too, and to-day look up and say: "Henceforth, Blessed Jesus, Thou shalt be Lord and King; Lord of my life, King of my mind and heart; my Lord and my God."
And remember that that is the one hope of the future. That name of Jesus, whispered first by Gabriel to Mary and to Joseph, spread through a comparatively small circle of His immediate followers, but at Pentecost the Holy Ghost caught it up, and spoke it in thunder; and ever since it has been spreading through the world and through the universe, and we are yet to see the time when the loftiest angels shall bow beneath it, when all men shall own it, and the very demons acknowledge it. "Jesus I know, and Paul I know," was the sad confession of a fallen spirit centuries ago.
This name of our Lord--the last name spoken on earth, the first name uttered in heaven--the name that comprehends grace, the name that spells glory, for He has gone to prepare a place for us. We have passed the shortest day; yonder is the spring and summer of the morning land, and we anticipate the time when we shall sit with Him; bearing that name with Him; and perhaps going forth to all parts of the universe to tell of it, to kindle hearts and lives with it, to unfold, as only redeemed men can, the full meaning and significance of the name Jesus. (F. B. Meyer. The Epistle to the Philippians)