Paul repeats the words from Isaiah 45:23 that he also uses in Philippians 2:10-11. Every knee must bend in front of God; in other words, every person must kneel. Every tongue, in other words, every person, must give honour to God. In Isaiah 45:24, they declare the goodness and the power of God. In Philippians 2:11, they declare that Jesus is Lord (God), in order to bring honour to God the Father.
These passages describe a future time after God has defeated every evil force (1 Corinthians 15:24-26). However, they also describe the attitude that Godís people should have now. They are the people who have accepted Godís rule over their lives (Mark 1:15). Therefore, they are the people who should give him honour, both now and always.
People would kneel down in order to give honour to a ruler or a great man (see Esther 3:1-4). Servants often have to kneel as they work. So, to kneel in front of someone was a way to express humble attitudes towards that person. In other words, you kneel to show that you accept his greatness and his authority over you.
Christians declare that Jesus is Lord (God) to accept his authority over their lives. It is only by that means that we can have a right relationship with God (10:9-10).
In the end, God will be the judge of all people (Genesis 18:25; Revelation 20:11-15). So, nobody is really free to do whatever pleases them. In particular, Godís people should live to please him and not to please themselves (14:7-9). They must not have bitter or cruel thoughts about those Christians with whom they disagree (14:10). They should remember that they are responsible to God. As his servants, they will have to give an account to him for their actions (compare Matthew 25:14-30).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.