"THAT AT THE NAME OF JESUS EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW"
By Ian Potts
"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, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
God's word declares that there is coming a day when every knee - every man's, every woman's, every child's - will bow. To Whom will they bow? To the Lord Jesus Christ. And what will every tongue confess? "That Jesus Christ is Lord".
Oh, what a day that will be! What a tremendous confession, what glorious praise to God the Father and to Him whom He hath highly exalted, even Jesus Christ His Son!
In considering this truth let us take a moment to notice how this passage is worded. It says "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow."
Why does scripture state it in this way? Why stress the name of Jesus, that name "which is above every name"? Why? Firstly, because of how exalted both the Person and His name are - how glorious they are. But also because of what the name of Jesus signifies: the truth of it. The truth conveyed by the very name itself. It is not only to Jesus that every knee shall bow, but to the truth He represents. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by me" (John 14:6). Jesus is The Truth and His name declares truth.
The name 'Jesus' is the Greek form of the Hebrew 'Joshua', or 'Jeho-shua', which has its roots in 'Jah-shua' meaning 'God Saves'. Not only does this name declare Christ's deity but it declares Him to be the God who saves! Now, this is a truth to which every knee shall bow - that God Saves! That through Jesus alone God saves sinners; that salvation is entirely of Him - from start to finish. Man simply has no part to play in it - the work is ALL of God - for God Saves.
Oh! How man by nature, in the fallen depravity of his sinful heart, rails against such a truth! How he hates it! How his innermost spirit detests such a truth that asserts dogmatically the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation. How man must have some part to play in saving himself. How his pride rises up against, how it fights against, the plain and simple truth that salvation owes nothing to himself, but all to God and His grace. Man by nature simply must have some part to play, he must have something which he can do, something which he can contribute - however small it may be. Whether it be his good works, his prayers, his attendance to religious ritual or worship, his decision to follow God, his simple 'acceptance' of 'Jesus', his willingness to believe; something, something, he does must play a part in his salvation. However much he may confess his need of Christ to save him, ultimately there is a part of his own, whether it be fifty percent or one percent, upon which he trusts. Man's sinful nature, his pride, his arrogance, will not confess that he is absolutely worthless, utterly lost, totally blind to the truth, dead in trespasses and sins. He can go so far, but not that far. He'll bow the knee to the idea of a saviour who saves those who allow him to, those who 'accept' him, but he'll not bow the knee to the truth of The Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and not to the truth of His Name: Jesus, 'God Saves'. For God does save and He saves those whom HE WILLS absolutely, entirely, without the work of man (James 1:18).
No, man by nature will never bow the knee to such a truth, he'll never accept that 'God saves'; that salvation is entirely of the Lord, entirely of His choice, entirely at His discretion (Romans 9:15); that God will either do everything to save a sinner, or he'll do nothing at all, and if not, God will leave the proud, stubborn, rebellious, self-righteous, religious hypocrite to discover at the day of judgment that the filthy rags of his own righteousness could never wash away his sins - to discover that salvation has to be entirely upon a different footing from his own works, that he needs the blood of God's Saviour to wash away his sins and make him clean before a Holy and Almighty God; such a one will be brought to see, when it is too late for him, that it is indeed the truth that 'God Saves' and God alone - then, on that day, his knee will bow to such a truth, even as the Lord God of Heaven and Earth delivers His eternal sentence of wrath upon him.
How merciful then to be delivered from such wilful delusion! What grace is shown by Almighty God when He arrests a sinner in his rebellious way and opens his eyes to the Gospel and the truth of the Name which is above every name. How wonderful to be brought to an end of ourselves and our own striving to save ourselves, and to be brought to see that "salvation is of the Lord"; how good to be brought to our knees to confess to God that we are nothing, that except He shows us mercy we will be lost; to cry out to Him "God, have mercy on me, a sinner"! (Luke 18:13) For it is those who are brought to call upon the name of the Lord in this way who shall be saved (Romans 10:13), for 'God Saves'!
What a salvation God has wrought for sinners through His precious Son the Lord Jesus Christ! How God is glorified by it! This salvation was purposed by God the Father from all eternity when He chose a people in Christ whom He would redeem, called the "election of grace"; this salvation was effected by God the Son "who made himself of no reputation…and being found in fashion as a man… humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross", when He laid down His life in the place of His people, bearing their sins in His own body on the tree, suffering the wrath of God against sin, that He might deliver them from sin and condemnation and grant them eternal life in Him; and this salvation wrought by the Son is applied by the Holy Spirit to these people when He quickens them from death to life and grants them faith to look to the Saviour who suffered and bled in their stead, to rest in Him and the righteousness of God in Him which is put to their account. This threefold work of Father, Son and Holy Ghost sets forth the glorious truth that 'God Saves', by grace alone, and it is this truth to which God's people will be brought, by the Spirit, to bow the knee: to confess at the name of Jesus that 'God Saves', that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. For God "hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow".
Yes, the work of salvation is entirely God's work, from start to finish; all its handiwork, all its weaving, all its craftsmanship is of Him. All those who come to know such a salvation, all those who are quickened from death unto life by the irresistible work of the Holy Spirit, all those turned from darkness to light, from enmity to peace with God, from the dark paths of sin to the blessed way of righteousness, from misery unto joy, from a life lived for self unto a life lived for the Lord Jesus Christ and for His glory; all those will gladly, freely, willingly, lovingly, bow the knee to the Saviour, to Him who is Truth, and to this truth: that God Saves.
And whether man confesses this truth in his lifetime and bows the knee freely, or whether he comes to see it at the day of judgment, nevertheless, there comes a day when every man, every woman, every child, all, shall bow the knee to the truth that God Saves, for "Salvation is of the Lord"... "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow".
"...and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21