And that every tongue should confess - That all those before mentioned should acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, or absolute governor, and thus glorify God the Father, who has exalted this human nature to this state of ineffable glory, in virtue of its passion, death, resurrection, and the atonement which it has made, by which so many attributes of the Divine nature have become illustrated, the Divine law magnified and made honorable, and an eternal glory provided for man.
Others by things in heaven understand the holy angels; by things on earth, human beings generally; and by things under the earth, fallen spirits of every description. Perhaps the three expressions are designed to comprehend all beings of all kinds, all creatures; as it is usual with the Hebrews, and indeed with all ancient nations, to express, by things in heaven, things on earth, and things under the earth, all beings of all kinds; universal nature. See similar forms of speech, Exodus 20:4; Deuteronomy 4:17, Deuteronomy 4:18; Psalm 96:11; and Ezekiel 38:20. But intelligent beings seem to be those which are chiefly intended by the words of the apostle; for it appears that nothing less than absolute rule over angels, men, and devils, can be designed in these extraordinary words, and by confessing him to be Lord we may understand that worship which all intelligent creatures are called to pay to God manifested in the flesh; for all should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. And the worship thus offered is to the glory of God; so that far from being idolatrous, as some have rashly asserted, it is to the honor of the Divine Being. We may add, that the tongue which does not confess thus, is a tongue that dishonors the Almighty.
And that every tongue should confess - Everyone should acknowledge him. On the duty and importance of confessing Christ, see the notes at Romans 10:9-10.
That Jesus Christ is Lord - The word “Lord,” here, is used in its primitive and proper sense, as denoting owner, ruler, sovereign; compare the notes at Romans 14:9. The meaning is, that all should acknowledge him as the universal sovereign.
To the glory of God the Father - Such a universal confession would honor God; see the notes at John 5:23, where this sentiment is explained.
The cold, formal, unbelieving way in which some of the laborers do their work is a deep offense to the Spirit of God. The apostle Paul says: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 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; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” Philippians 2:14-17. 9T 273.1
We are to encourage in one another that living faith which Christ has made it possible for every believer to have. The work is to be carried forward as the Lord prepares the way. When He brings His people into strait places, then it is their privilege to assemble together for prayer, remembering that all things come of God. Those who have not yet shared in the trying experiences that attend the work in these last days will soon have to pass through scenes that will severely test their confidence in God. It is at the time His people see no way to advance, when the Red Sea is before them and the pursuing army behind, that God bids them: “Go forward.” Thus He is working to test their faith. When such experiences come to you, go forward, trusting in Christ. Walk step by step in the path He marks out. Trials will come, but go forward. This will give you an experience that will strengthen your faith in God and fit you for truest service. 9T 273.2Read in context »
In this life we can only begin to understand the wonderful theme of redemption. With our finite comprehension we may consider most earnestly the shame and the glory, the life and the death, the justice and the mercy, that meet in the cross; yet with the utmost stretch of our mental powers we fail to grasp its full significance. The length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of redeeming love are but dimly comprehended. The plan of redemption will not be fully understood, even when the ransomed see as they are seen and know as they are known; but through the eternal ages new truth will continually unfold to the wondering and delighted mind. Though the griefs and pains and temptations of earth are ended and the cause removed, the people of God will ever have a distinct, intelligent knowledge of what their salvation has cost. GC 651.1
The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity. In Christ glorified they will behold Christ crucified. Never will it be forgotten that He whose power created and upheld the unnumbered worlds through the vast realms of space, the Beloved of God, the Majesty of heaven, He whom cherub and shining seraph delighted to adore—humbled Himself to uplift fallen man; that He bore the guilt and shame of sin, and the hiding of His Father's face, till the woes of a lost world broke His heart and crushed out His life on Calvary's cross. That the Maker of all worlds, the Arbiter of all destinies, should lay aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man will ever excite the wonder and adoration of the universe. As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and behold the eternal glory of the Father shining in His countenance; as they behold His throne, which is from everlasting to everlasting, and know that His kingdom is to have no end, they break forth in rapturous song: “Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His own most precious blood!” GC 651.2
The mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries. In the light that streams from Calvary the attributes of God which had filled us with fear and awe appear beautiful and attractive. Mercy, tenderness, and parental love are seen to blend with holiness, justice, and power. While we behold the majesty of His throne, high and lifted up, we see His character in its gracious manifestations, and comprehend, as never before, the significance of that endearing title, “Our Father.” GC 652.1Read in context »
The apostle Paul says: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man [as the representative of the human race], he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2:5-10). 1SM 243.1
The humiliation of the man Christ Jesus is incomprehensible to the human mind; but His divinity and His existence before the world was formed can never be doubted by those who believe the Word of God. The apostle Paul speaks of our Mediator, the only-begotten Son of God, who in a state of glory was in the form of God, the Commander of all the heavenly hosts, and who, when He clothed His divinity with humanity, took upon Him the form of a servant. Isaiah declares: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever” (Isaiah 9:6, 7). 1SM 243.2
In consenting to become man, Christ manifested a humility that is the marvel of the heavenly intelligences. The act of consenting to be a man would be no humiliation were it not for the fact of Christ's exalted pre-existence. We must open our understanding to realize that Christ laid aside His royal robe, His kingly crown, His high command, and clothed His divinity with humanity, that He might meet man where he was, and bring to the human family moral power to become the sons and daughters of God. To redeem man, Christ became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 1SM 243.3Read in context »
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:14-17). 3SM 185.1
This is the grand and heavenly theme that has in a large degree been left out of the discourses because Christ is not formed within the human mind. And Satan has had his way that it shall be thus, that Christ should not be the theme of contemplation and adoration. This name, so powerful, so essential, should be on every tongue. 3SM 185.2
“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:25-29). 3SM 185.3Read in context »