Subjection Before Christ

“who will change our body of humiliation to be similar to his body of glory according to the act by which he is able to subordinate all things to himself.”

(Philippians 3:21)

Here is the other half of Philippians 2:10-11. Indeed, there will come a time when all will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, though some will do so under judgment for indeed, in that day when he returns in the air, Jesus will subject all things to himself — even all things in subjection under his feet (Hebrews 2:8). Those who reject Christ will be perfected in that hatred and crushed under the boot of the Lord of Glory, forcing them to admit that which they most hate is true — that Jesus is Lord of all.

Ordinarily we don’t think of our fleshly bodies as “bodies of humiliation,” but what better word could Paul have chosen for what we experience? We are fallen and as such, we suffer all sorts of diseases, ailments, injuries, and ill effects from weather changes, hard work, as well as just overall weariness. We get frustrated at our own limitations as well as with the limitations of others and death is before us all. Add to that those things that are the common lot of living in this fallen world…storms and natural disasters, crime and the presence of the wicked in our midst, accidents and turmoil. The bottom line is that this world is not “okay,” and though we endure, life in this world has a manner of humbling us and wearing us down. As a pastor, I cannot begin to count how many older people I have sat with who have outlived spouses, children, and other loved ones and have simply asked, “Why hasn’t God taken me home yet.” Indeed, this world is not okay and humiliation is as operable a term as any to describe the overall struggles of life.

Yet, we have here, Paul echoing his reminder that we have something to look forward to — glorified bodies made similar to the glorified body of Christ. No, not exactly the same, Paul uses the term su/mmorphoß (summorphos), which means to me remade in a similar form. So, we might not be able to fly or walk through walls, but we will be raised whole from the dead to live forever without the effects of sin in this world. Is that not enough? Is that not more than you can imagine? Is that not the greatest and most marvelous thing? Indeed, how greedy we unworthy beggars are, who have been brought into the household of God. May our souls never cease to give thanks for all that God gives to us.

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