“Made Himself of No Reputation” ( Philippians 2: 7, AKJV ) by Carley Evans


That is why God has raised him to such a height, given him that name which is greater than any other name; so that everything in heaven and on earth and under the earth must bend the knee before the name of Jesus, and every tongue must confess Jesus Christ as the Lord, dwelling in the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:9-11KNOX

For which thing God enhanced him, and gave to him a name that is above all name; [For which thing and God enhanced him, and gave to him a name that is above all names;] that in the name of Jesus each knee be bowed, of heavenly things, [and] of earthly things, and of hell’s; and each tongue acknowledge, that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:9-11WYC

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 2:9-11AKJV

“That is why,” “For which thing” and “Wherefore” indicate the reason God exalted Jesus Christ above all others. The reason is that 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, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (AKJV)

Jesus’ willingness to humble Himself, to “make Himself of no reputation” is also the reason Paul calls upon Christians to likewise humble ourselves. If we walk about with our noses stuck in the air, who will benefit? Certainly not those who are lost. Neither will our spiritual pride bring glory to God. Note that Jesus’ humility brought glory to God the Father. His willingness to step out of His power and accept human weaknesses – including death – is why He is now exalted above all names.

“Guarded From The Evil One” ( 2 Thessalonians 3: 3, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


A bodyguard forms a living shield between assailant and target, whether the assailant is armed and highly dangerous or unarmed and highly annoying. The bodyguard is willing to take a bullet or a verbal barb as the protector.

Jesus is our bodyguard. He stands between us and our adversary, who prowls around like a hungry lion, seeking anyone he may devour. Jesus “directs [our] hearts to God’s love” and to His own endurance. (2 Thessalonians 3:5) In this, Jesus gives us His protection, His perseverance, and God’s awesome love. In Him, we are strengthened.

Jesus is the ultimate shield from the evil one. After all, “from the beginning, God [chooses] [us] for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He calls [us] to this through [the] gospel, so that [we] might obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)

Therefore, “may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loves us and gives us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

“The Night Is Nearly Over” ( Romans 13:12, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Paul encourages us with these words, “The night is nearly over;” “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed;” (Romans 13:11) and “the daylight is near.” Because the night is almost finished, and the light is dawning upon us, Paul exhorts us to “discard the deeds of darkness” since it is fading away and “put on the armor of light” since it is shining already and soon is to be in full glow. We are to “make no plans” to remain in darkness, but are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14) We are to actively avoid “quarreling and jealousy.” (Romans 13:13)

Notice Paul exhorts us to put off arguing which creates barriers between we who are brothers and sisters in the Lord. Paul says, “Let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in [our] brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13) “Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about doubtful issues.” (Romans 14:1) “Who are [we] to criticize another’s household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand. For the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4)

Therefore, Paul encourages to be accepting of one another in Christ for we are all members of the same body, who is our Lord.

“Joy” ( Romans 5: 1, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Have you not heard? Do you not know? — We’ve been “justified by faith.” And what’s more — because “we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.” How has this justification occurred? Our justification and therefore our peace with God has been secured “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We stand in this grace. And in this grace which we have obtained through faith, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)

Therefore, we stand in faith, in grace — justified fully before God the Father — in total peace with Him. We stand in joy because we have this hope of glory within us.

Sometimes, I believe we underestimate the state of joy in which we stand. Either we do not recognize it, or we fail to grasp its fullness. Now someone might say, ‘well, then how is that being in a state of joy?’ Of course it’s not. Joy comes with first knowing the weight of our sin and then recognizing the lifting of that weight. And joy is sustained by refusing to allow that weight of guilt to return to us, knowing that Christ carried that weight on the tree at Calvary. Like a garment, He has taken our sin from us and literally nailed it to the cross.

Taking it down, putting it back onto ourselves is the ultimate betrayal of grace. Have you not heard? Do you not know? “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. They who wait for the Lord renew their strength; they mount up with wings like eagles; they run and are not weary; they walk and do not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-29,31)

“Eyes On Jesus” ( Hebrews 12: 2, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Let us “keep our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.” Once again, the Holy Spirit gives us a succinct picture of the good news. The gospel is here in this single statement — Jesus is both the source and the perfecter of our faith.

Therefore, our attention — our eyes — should be focused on Jesus, not on others and certainly not on our selves.

Now this is not to say we should not “lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us” and “run with endurance the race that lies before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) Indeed we are called by the same Holy Spirit to do both. We are called to put off the old man and put on our new nature.

The good news, however, is that we “have been taken hold of by Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:12) Yet, we “pursue as [our] goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13) After all, “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20) And our Savior has “the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.” (Philippians 3:21)

Therefore, “everything that was a gain to [us], [we] consider to be a loss because of Christ.” (Philippians 3:7) Think of those things we once considered as gains: status, church standing, friends, obedience to rules and regulations. Now these have no value in our walk with God — Why? Because only Christ is the source and perfecter of our faith.

“At Peace With God” ( Romans 3: 26, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


What is God’s righteousness which “has been revealed?” (Romans 3:21) God’s righteousness is demonstrated “in His restraint” as “[He] passes over the sins previously committed.” (Romans 3:25) “For while we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:2) Therefore, God’s righteousness is demonstrated as “[He] presents [Christ] as a propitiation through faith in [His Son’s] blood.” “[God] is righteous and declares righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26) And so we see “[we] are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)

God restrains Himself now that Jesus has taken the sins of the world upon the crucifixion tree. And God declares righteous those who put their faith in Christ’s finished work.

If our righteousness — and therefore our inheritance — come through adherence to law rather than through faith, then “faith is made empty and the promise is canceled.” (Romans 4:14) “The promise is through faith, so that it may be according to grace.” (Romans 4:16) “[Jesus] was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:25) “Therefore, since we are declared righteous by faith, we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)

“Chosen By God” ( 2 Thessalonians 2: 13, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“God chose you for salvation.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13) “He calls you to this through [the] gospel, so you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:14)

“For He chose [you] in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined [you] to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself.” (Ephesians 1:4-5)

“Where then is boasting? It is excluded. [You] are justified by faith.” (Romans 3:27,28) “Therefore, since [you] are declared righteous by faith, [you] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) “Rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)

“Share God’s Consolation” ( 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the all-merciful Father, the God whose consolation never fails us! He comforts us in all our troubles, so that we in turn may be able to comfort others in any trouble of theirs and to share with them the consolation we ourselves receive from God.”

Paul encourages us with the truth that God’s “consolation never fails us!” He reminds us that “we suffer with [Christ].”

And, oddly enough, our sufferings have a purpose. “As Christ’s cup of suffering overflows, and we suffer with Him, so also through Christ our consolation overflows.” (2 Corinthians 1:5-6) Our consolation overflows to others, to our brothers and sisters in Christ and also to the world at large. As we know God’s comfort, so we are able to — and called to — comfort others. And we are able to — and called to — comfort others “in any trouble of theirs.” We do not need to have experienced that specific trouble to be able to offer comfort. Why? Because “through Christ our consolation overflows” to the other person; and Christ knows that person’s suffering in a way we can never know.

Therefore, “share with [others] the consolation we ourselves receive from God.” We each can be a blessing in times of trouble.

“Never Cast Out” ( John 6: 37, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Jesus says, “Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day.” (John 6: 37-39)

 

Jesus Himself says that God’s will is that all who come to Jesus will be “raised up on the last day.” Jesus will “lose none of those [God] has given [Him].” Paul explains, “For it is God who is working in [us], enabling [us] both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

 

We will be raised up on the last day as members of the family of God because “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly await for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” And when Jesus comes, “He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

 

“[God] demonstrates this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens — far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.” (Ephesians 1:20-23)

 

We are the church; and as such, we are subject to His authority. His power, which is demonstrated in His resurrection, guarantees our relationship with Him — He is our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We wait eagerly for Him, for He is “far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion.” As Paul says, “If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies.” (Romans 8:31-33)

“God Himself Keeping You Sound And Blameless” ( 1 Thessalonians 5: 23-24, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

 

What a comforting thought Paul presents to us here, assuring us that God Himself sanctifies us “completely” — not partially. God is not halfhearted in the performance of His plan to make us holy. God also keeps our “spirits, souls, and bodies” “sound and blameless” in anticipation of the return of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul drives home this glorious truth by reminding us that God “who calls [us] is faithful.” Because God is faithful, He “will do it.”

 

“May [we] be strengthened with all power, according to [God’s] glorious might.” (Colossians 1:11) With God’s strength — His mighty power — we will walk according to His will, to the praise of His glory.

 

Jesus says, “You can do nothing without Me.” (John 15:5) And, He also commands,”Produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.” (John 15:8)