5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
What was the result of Jesus Christ’s humility? Exaltation. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9). God the Father highly exalted Jesus and gave Him a name that is above every name. The humiliation by Jesus Christ was followed by the exaltation of Christ. These two doctrines are eternally linked.
The word exalted (ὑπερυψόω; hyperypsosen) means to give exceptional honor. It means to regard a person as possessing high status. The word bestowed (χαρίζομαι; charizomai) means to graciously and generously give with good will being the intention of the bestowal. In God the Father’s exaltation of God the Son, He has given the Son a name which is above every name. Christ’s new name is Lord. The Bible confirms that this is Jesus’ rightful title (Isaiah 45:21-23; Mark 15:1-2; Luke 2:1-11; John 13:13; 18:37; 20:28).
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Christ’s exaltation was fourfold. The early sermons of the apostles affirm his resurrection and coronation (his position at the right hand of God), and allude to his intercession for believers (Acts 2:32–33; 5:30–31; cf. Eph. 1:20–21; Heb. 4:15; 7:25–26). Hebrews 4:14 refers to the final element, his ascension. The exaltation did not concern Christ’s nature or eternal place within the Trinity, but his new identity as the God-Man (cf. John 5:22; Rom. 1:4; 14:9; 1 Cor. 15:24–25).
The purpose of Jesus’ exaltation is “(Philippians 2:10-11)
To bow is a show of respect. It also refers to the worship of God “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.” Everything, including those in heaven, on earth and in hell will bow the knee to Christ. Additionally, not only will everyone bow the knee but they also will verbally confess or acknowledge the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord. Some will confess out of love. Others will confess under duress. However, all will confess that Jesus is the sovereign Lord of the universe. Ultimately, this will be for the glory of God.
Dr. R C. Sproul writes that, “When we consider the nativity of Jesus, it is easy to focus our attention on the sheer impoverishment that went with His being born in a stable and in a place where He was unwelcome in the resident hotel or inn. There was an overwhelming sense of debasement in the lowliness of His birth. Yet, at the very moment that our Lord entered humanity in these debasing circumstances, just a short distance away the heavens broke out with the glory of God shining before the eyes of the shepherds with the announcement of His birth as the King.”
Dr. Sproul continues by stating, “God the Son humbled Himself in the incarnation not as an end in itself but in order to be exalted above all else, thereby achieving our highest good (Phil. 2:5–11). He did not achieve an exalted state that He lacked prior to the incarnation, for as God He has always been the most exalted One. But in pursuing the way of humiliation for His people, Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, gained as a gift the exaltation that was His by nature, giving us no reason to doubt the glory of the God-man.”
One the clearest ways for believers in Christ to honor and glorify God is by humble service. Humility begins with each believing sinner acknowledging that if it were not for God’s sovereign grace, we would have remained helpless in our sin. Broken and helpless people will truly give thanks to the One who healed them of their brokenness and lifted them from their helpless estate.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!