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An Event That Changes Everything

We can wager on truth and we can wager on life because of God’s love, God’s love that is the event that happened.


Philippians is Paul's final letter to a church. He writes it from his imprisonment in Rome. In Philippians 2:6-11, we listened to St. Paul as he broke into a song. We even call that passage the "Philippian hymn." Paul is urging the Philippians to care about one another, to put each other in front of one another in line. He stops and thinks to himself, "I need an illustration of this," and he said, "Think about Jesus Christ." And then he breaks into a song.

He says, "Jesus Christ who was in the form of God, the very essence of God, he thought it not necessary to hold on to that equality and he emptied himself, and took upon himself the form, the essence of a servant, and became obedient even unto death, the death on the cross." In the poem, it's a kind of descent as you move down toward the terror of the Cross.

In Jesus Christ, God himself, the Son, took upon himself servanthood, and emptied himself and came to the cross. Therefore, God the Father has highly exalted Jesus. Jesus is the name above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God, the Father.

This hymn tells of the love of God seen as an event that happens. In the New Testament, love is not an idea, love is not a theory, love is supremely an event. It's what happened at the Cross. It's when Jesus identified with us and disarmed the power of our sins, disarmed the power of death itself by taking it, and disarmed the power of the devil. And that's an event that happened at the cross, and that's what Paul affirms to us in that great hymn.

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Earl Palmer is a writer and speaker for Earl Palmer Ministries, and author of Mastering the New Testament: 1, 2, 3 John and Revelation (W Publishing Group).

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