R5846-40 Bible Study: The Humble To Be Exalted

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“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might become rich.”—2 Corinthians 8:9.

ST. PAUL, then a prisoner in Rome, wrote these words of our lesson to the Philippian brethren, whom he so dearly loved and from whom he had received so many proofs of their love for him. No other Church is mentioned as having aided St. Paul in his times of need. Their special assistance to him is mentioned—twice in Thessalonica (Philippians 4:16), once in Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:9), and now at Rome.

The Epistle to the Philippians has been styled an epistle of joy—so richly did the Apostle’s heart seem to respond to the faithfulness of the brethren there. He would have them know that he appreciated their love, and that such love should abound toward each other and toward all. His joy would be filled full in proportion as he could realize that the brethren had the proper mind of Christ, its love and harmony. He exhorted, therefore, that they remember the conditions on which such character could be developed. Nothing should be done by them through strife or for vain-glory. All of their conduct should be marked by lowliness, humility and willingness to discern the good qualities of others—noting wherein others were superior to themselves.

This would not mean that they should deceive themselves, but that they should be on the alert to appreciate true quality and character wherever found—looking for noble qualities in others, and generously hoping that they existed even when not discerned—considering the interests of the Lord’s cause, and ignoring self-will or pride. Therefore they should not look merely at their own things or interests, but also upon those of others—the rights of others, the ability of others. This, the Apostle assures us, is a mark of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of a sound mind, which comes to the followers of Jesus as they grow in grace and the Master’s character-likeness.

This mind, or disposition, the Apostle declares, was fully exemplified in Jesus. In His pre-human condition, when in the form of God, a spirit being, Jesus was humble. He did not meditate usurpation of Divine authority to exalt Himself, to seek a name higher than His own, as Satan did. He had no thought of robbing the Divine glory and honor by putting Himself upon an equality with God the Father. On the contrary, He had the same spirit that He had afterwards, when He declared, “Not My will, but Thine, be done”; and again, “I came not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me”; and again, “My Father is greater than all.”—Luke 22:42; John 6:38; John 10:29; John 14:28.

The Master always had this disposition of reverence for the Father and of full trust and confidence in the Divine Wisdom, Love, Justice and Power. Hence, when the time came that the Father had purposed—when He would send a Savior into the world, first to redeem it and later on to become its King and Deliverer—and the proposal to render this great service to God and to men was proffered to the great Logos—”the Only Begotten of the Father”—it was promptly accepted. “I delight to do Thy will, O My God!” was the response of the chiefest of all God’s creatures. This involved a great humiliation—leaving the dignity of the chiefest on the spirit plane, to become a human being—a man amongst men—”the Man Christ Jesus”—not a sinful man, but a perfect one, in the image and likeness of God, as was the first Adam originally—”holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.”


After Jesus by the change of nature found Himself a man amongst men, He still preserved the same loyalty to the Father. He was only a child when we hear Him say,

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“Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49.) Having learned that He could not attend to the Father’s business until He reached the age stipulated in the Sinaitic Law, He remained quietly at home until nearly thirty. Then promptly He went forth to John the Baptist at Jordan; and by a public immersion He testified His full obedience to the Father’s will—the full consecration of His life, even unto death.

Then there came upon Him a begetting of the Holy Spirit, as testified by John. Then, too, God granted that spirit-begotten One a special mental illumination; as we read, “The heavens [the higher things] were opened unto Him.” The Divine Plan was made plain which involved His own death as the Antitype of the serpent raised on the pole by Moses, as the Antitype of the bullock of sin-offering slain by Aaron, as the Antitype of the Passover lamb slain by the Israelites and eaten by them for their strengthening and deliverance from Egypt—delivering the people of God from Satan’s yoke of bondage to sin.

In all these experiences, we find that the Master was faithful, loyal to God, loyal to His covenant, loyal to the

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principles of righteousness. Thus it is written of Him, “Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” (Psalm 45:7.) The oil of gladness represented the holy joy of our Lord and the holy prospects which sustained Him during this period when He made Himself of no reputation, and became poor indeed—finally losing even His life—all in loyalty to God’s will and the Program marked out in the Bible.

His final cry on Calvary was, “It is finished!” His baptism into death was finished—His full approval for obedience to God and the principles of righteousness, all that the Father had given Him to do in the way of sacrifice, had been accomplished. Ah, then it was God’s turn to act! Would He leave His faithful One in death? Nay, “faithful is He who promised,” who performed His good promises to His faithful Son.

The Apostle tells of this, saying, “Him hath God highly exalted, and given Him a name which is above every name”—a title and honor, a distinction, a place above all others. (Verses 9-11 [Philippians 2:9-11].) He was received into glory; and all the angels of God worshiped Him whom the Father had thus exalted to His own right hand, giving Him, additionally to what He had resigned, glory and immortality—the Divine nature. Well can we understand the acclaim of the Heavenly ones: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing.”—Revelation 5:12.


But there is more glory yet to come to the great Redeemer. Those who crucified Him, yea, all the world of mankind, for whom He tasted death, are yet to be made aware of His great sacrifice on their behalf and of the great honor and high exaltation which came to Him as a result. He is to be the world’s King of Glory and is to reign for a thousand years. As Verse 10 [Philippians 2:10]declares, eventually every knee on earth will bow, and every tongue will acknowledge Him; and all others not willing thus to recognize and obey Him are to be destroyed from amongst the people as “natural brute beasts.” (2 Peter 2:12; Jude 10 [Jude 1:10].) “And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that Prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:23.) And all this glorifying of the Son will directly be to the Father’s glory; for the entire Plan of Salvation is of the Father and through the Son, as the Apostle assures us.—1 Corinthians 8:6.

Now then, let us not lose the point of the Apostle’s lesson expressed in our Golden Text. While the world by and by is to profit by the Redeemer’s great sacrifice and subsequent Kingdom, and all are to have the opportunity of being restored to human perfection and a world-wide Kingdom, a special blessing of God is for the Church, who now accept the Redeemer, consecrate their lives, as He did His, to the Father’s will, and walk in the footsteps of Jesus. They shall become His joint-heirs in the Kingdom, and reign with Him a thousand years—yea, and beyond.

The essence of this lesson is elsewhere expressed by the Apostle Peter. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6.) Only the humble-minded are prepared to learn the great lessons which must be learned before they will be ready for exaltation that would be profitable to themselves or to others. The course of selfishness and self-seeking is illustrated in Satan, who has failed and is ultimately to be destroyed. The same self-seeking spirit is styled the spirit of the world; and it is about to lead the world to the great catastrophe foretold in the Bible—from which, however, they will be rescued by Messiah and His Kingdom, and will have the opportunity of learning the great lesson of humility and obedience and of getting the reward.

Jesus, on the contrary, has illustrated to us the proper course which leads to glory, honor and immortality; namely, the course of full self-abasement and of full submission to whatever may be the Divine will. As the Savior has entered into His glory as a reward for His obedience, so the faithful of His people, the Church, demonstrating their humility and obedience, will be sharers, His joint-heirs in His future Kingdom of glory.


— February 1, 1916 —

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