Tag Archives: Philippians 2:5-11

The Same or Different?

28 Jun

IMG_3012Am I that different from the demons?

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:5-11.

The Beginning

God created everything and everyone – including Satan. Satan was glorious! His traditional name is Lucifer, meaning “light-bearer”. Satan rebelled against God and fell from heaven (Luke 10:18). His angels (demons) fell with him (Rev 12:9).

We are created beings (Gen 1:27). We fell from grace (Gen 3; Rom 3:23).

Both angels and humans were created by God, and both left His presence and were banished by God. Both wanted to be out from under God’s authority but found after disobedience to not only still be under His authority, but also be under His wrath (Matt 25:41).

The End

In Philippians 2 the words “should bow” are one Greek word: kampto – to bow or bend. The implication is not that they should bow, but that they will. Kampto means: “…the gesture of full inner submission in worship to the one before whom we bow the knee. Thus in Rom. 14:11 bowing the knee is linked with confession within the context of a judgment scene, and in Phil. 2:10 it again accompanies confession with reference to the worship of the exalted Kyrios [Christ] Jesus by the cosmos.”*

The little word and appears twice between beings in three locations: those “in heaven AND on earth AND under the earth.” The Greek word translated as and (kai) is “a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force.”** In other words, the addition of each group adds scope, breadth, and importance. The implication in mentioning every sphere in which beings dwell is that every one, without exception, will bow before Jesus, declaring Him Lord. (See also Rom 14:11 and Rev 5:13.)

Humans and fallen angels then, defined as created beings, will both worship Jesus.

The Same

Are there differences between humans and fallen angels? Certainly. Too many for this short post. However, the similarities are striking, and they are what have captured my mind lately– especially regarding worship. Another similarity of these two groups is that the eventual worship (kampto) of Jesus will not be forced. There are other Greek words Paul could have used in Philippians to describe obligatory homage. The picture here is that Jesus is so great – His name is so far above (Greek huper means far beyond and exceeding, not just the first or most important) every other name, we won’t be able to keep from bowing.

His presence will send us all to our knees.



The questions for me are simple… and profound: will I choose to worship God, and will I allow His presence to send me to my knees.

If not, am I any different from the demons?

*Kittel, G., Bromiley, G. W., & Friedrich, G. (Eds.). (1964–). Theological dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman
**Strong, J. (2001). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.


The Difference

24 May

Chaos reigned.

Teens ran in and out, slamming doors. Several folks came in who don’t have the luxury of getting a shower when they want one. The AC wasn’t on; the air was heavy and close in the church basement. A couple of volunteers called in sick. The grill wouldn’t light, so dinner was late. More chaos.

“Am I making a difference, God?” I may as well have said it out loud – no one would have heard me in the din.

He didn’t answer – or I didn’t hear, because I was too busy running from fire to fire to put them out as best I could.

Several days later, I’m still wondering, but I’m wondering if my question might be the problem. Since when am I the one who makes a difference? What power do I possess that can vanquish chaos?

I’m well aware that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. (The entire chapter speaks to this.) The point of this passage is the power of God working through me. I know it seems like a small distinction, and this is precisely the point. When I get tripped up with making a difference, I’m after results in others’ lives. A good goal, to be sure. But that isn’t my purpose in Christ. Just far enough off to be a big difference.

In Christ I am to–

  • Love God and others
  • Have the attitude of Christ and become like Him
  • Do the works He prepared in advance for me to do
  • Be faithful in the above

Being concerned with making a difference distracts me from my true directive.

I wonder if the saints in Hebrews 11 or Dr. Leslie asked the question? On this side of history we know that God worked wonderfully through them.  All they knew was that they were faithful. And that is really enough. All else is pride – another distraction.

God effects change; we have the incredible privilege of cooperating with Him in His work.

If we are faithful.




People raising their hands when I am leading them in worship makes me feel good. Because it makes me feel that I’m doing “it” right, that my efforts are worthwhile. But again, that’s not the point, is it?

Not being able to affect change can be discouraging and demoralizing– when my value gets wrapped up in what I do. But when I go after the heart of my Savior and let Him change others’ hearts, I am free– the heavy weight of producing results is lifted.

I choose the latter.

And that, to borrow a line from Frost, has made all the difference.

Livable in Real Life

15 Jun

Pastor .

“…everything, absolutely everything in the scriptures is livable. Not just true, but livable. Not just an idea or a cause, but livable in real life.”

Eugene Peterson


Fitting that the author of The Message would pen a paraphrase of 2Timothy 3:16 tucked into his memoir. This pastor and theologian for the common man who has been dedicated to teaching truth for more than a half-century knows something about the livability of the subject of his dedication.

Peterson pastored Christ Our King Presbyterian Church for 29 years. He studied, preached, and lived the scriptures in front of, and with, his congregation as he led the worship service every Sunday.

Pastor Pete’s example (and ours) is Jesus. Jesus, the one who laid aside his deity and lived as a mortal man, got it right – partly so we would know a holy life is possible. (And partly so he could be the sinless sacrifice for our sin, and mostly because he loved his Father. But those are topics for another post.)

When Jesus lived on the earth he was the scripture livable in real life. Not an ethical system of shoulds and should-nots, but The Word in human flesh. Total fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.

Complete love, grace, peace, holiness, joy… completely worthy of my worship.



What scripture is challenging you to live differently? To really live?
Mine is 2 Peter 1:1. More on that next week.

Peterson quote above from: The Pastor – A Memoir, p. 214.

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