Chapter 19

Philippians 2:8‑17  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 6
"The death of the cross" is the lowest point of human shame. There could not be a death lower than that. Here the point before the Spirit of God is not God's side (atonement, propitiation), but it is the depths to which the Lord submitted Himself in obedience to God, the lowest point of human shame.
Next we see Him in the highest place of exaltation in heaven: "And hath given Him a name which is above every name"—not only in earth but in heaven— and not only a name but the authority of that One: "That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow... and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to God the Father's glory" (J.N.D. Trans.).
It is helpful to see in that way the two extremes: extreme humiliation and extreme exaltation. We have not sufficiently noticed the shame side of the cross, the human side of it. That is the point in 1 Cor. 2:22For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2): "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." A crucified Man is the One Paul preached to those proud Corinthians who rejoiced so in human wisdom and glory. So also in Hebrews 12:22Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2): "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame," "even the death of the cross," not only death, but the death of the cross.
"That at the name of Jesus. "That is the Lord's personal name. "Thou shalt call His name Jesus." "Christ" is a title.
What is the thought in the 53rd of Isaiah: "He made His grave with the wicked"? We read from another translation: "They made His grave with the wicked, but He was with the rich in His death." They crucified three, and they dug three graves, but God came in and never allowed Him to be put in that grave. God would not allow any further humiliation; though they prepared the grave, they never put Him into it.
"By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many"; instead of "for," put "and He shall bear their iniquities." There you get the two sides of the Lord's work: "My righteous Servant justify many"—His teaching in His life; "bear their iniquities"—He did that in His death. That makes it much clearer.
His death brought the two cowardly disciples out boldly: Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews. Nicodemus, too, came to Jesus by night. Joseph goes in boldly and craves His body. He had been ashamed to confess Him. Honor was put upon Christ in His burial. He was not buried with those two thieves; the grave prepared by the wicked was never occupied by Him.
Many years ago, Mr. G. heard someone who was walking down the street use the Lord's name in vain two or three times. He went to him and, putting his hand on his shoulder, said to him, "Do you know that God hath made 'Jesus Christ' both Lord and Christ?" One day all will own His authority. We sometimes sing,
"But O! the grace that taught us now
Before the Lord the knee to bow."
Some go so far as to say this is the confession that leads to salvation. The confession of Christ as Lord in Romans 10:99That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9), "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved," supposes a genuine confession. There is no confession of Christ apart from the work of the Spirit. "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." "No man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed." 1 Cor. 12:33Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (1 Corinthians 12:3).
It is remarkable you do not hear people using the expression, "Lord Jesus Christ"; they talk about "God" and about "Jesus." Here it is the fact that all do so (own Him as Lord) either by grace or judgment. We have a remarkable passage in Romans 14:99For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. (Romans 14:9): "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living." Reconciliation is by God's grace; subjugation is by His power.
Verse 13: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." He works in the sinner to make him know his need of Christ, and when he is saved, God continues to work in him to make him to will and to do. That work goes on all through the Christian's life, and He works in us that way very largely by the circumstances in which He allows us to be. "Work out your own salvation" is in connection with circumstances—the recognition of God's hand in the circumstances—both to will and to do of His good pleasure. That is why He brings us into these straits in which we find ourselves so often. God never had to work that way in Christ; He had no contrary will. His delight was to do the will of God His Father. We have the same nature, but we have another nature, too.
Some say the old nature has been entirely eliminated. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves." We deceive ourselves very easily. It is difficult to deceive other people. Once a woman who professed "holiness" was asked if she ever had an evil thought. She said, "Yes." She was asked, "Where does that thought come from?" She answered,. "From the devil." "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts." When the devil is chained for a thousand years, people will still sin.
"Work out your own salvation" may be individual, or it may be in assembly difficulties. The force of "your own" is in contrast with his helping them when Paul was with them, but now he is a prisoner and cannot. That is the simple meaning of "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." It is in contrast with His helping them.
"Do all things without murmurings and disputings." Here it seems it is more the assembly he has before him—the collective thing. We have often thought there is moral order here. "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world." What then? "Holding forth the word of life." The state that is referred to in the 15th verse precedes the 16th verse. It is a little remarkable there that "lights" is the same as "the glory of God did lighten it" in Revelation 21. Suppose they were all at loggerheads among themselves? In a certain way there would be no testimony.
Then the next thing is, "That I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain." That answers to the judgment seat of Christ. They are converted, but how do they go on after they are converted? There should always be some testimony of the gospel going out from an assembly. One cannot be going on with God and be indifferent to the gospel. A brother who never came to the evening meeting said, "That is only the gospel meeting!" That very thing told a tale. If there were a discipline meeting in the assembly, he would be there and very likely would have the most to say.
Some say we do not hold forth the word of life as we should and that we are just sitting down and waiting for the Lord to come. J.N.D. was very depressed on one occasion because D.L.M. had called us "do- nothings." The Lord will try, not how much, but of what sort the work is—quality not quantity. The last shall be first and the first last. It is a good deal like giving: The Lord stood over against the treasury and beheld how they gave.
How are the unsaved to know of the meeting? They will know of it if we are faithful in giving tracts and inviting them.
The 17th verse answers to the drink offering— "poured forth." The drink offering of wine told of the joy the Lord had in doing God's will.