Calvary Road Baptist Church


Philippians 3.21


Turn to Philippians 3.21 and read with me:


“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”


Look at the last phrase of our text for this evening: “Whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” I like those words, “He is able.” That sums it up, doesn’t it? He is able. If ever there was a single phrase that better described the abilities, the capacity, of the Lord Jesus Christ than “He is able,” I wouldn’t know what it could be.

What is the Lord Jesus Christ able to do? Have you ever considered? Have you ever pondered? Have you ever studied? You might think to yourself, “The Lord Jesus Christ can do anything.” But, in fact, He cannot do everything. There are some things He simply cannot do. Can the Lord Jesus Christ make a rock so very big that He is too weak to lift it? No. There’s one thing He cannot do. Can the Lord Jesus Christ tell a lie or do anything else that’s wrong? No. That’s another thing He cannot do. So, besides being intellectually lazy, the fact of the matter is, one cannot just declare that the Lord Jesus Christ can do anything. Because of His character there are certain things He cannot do. Therefore, if you want to find out what the Lord Jesus Christ is able to do you have to actually study God’s Word to find out what those things are.

If you study God’s Word, you will find out some of the marvelous things the Lord Jesus Christ is able to do. For example: In Hebrews 7.25 we learn that He is able to save:


“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”


Isn’t that amazing? No matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter what you are, the Lord Jesus Christ is able to save you if you will come to God by Him. Try to come to God other than by Him and you will burn in Hell. However, if you will come to Him as the means of coming to God, He will save you from your sins, forgive you, cleanse you in His precious shed blood, and give you life eternal. He is able to do that. What wonderful news that is to sinners who want to be saved from their sins.

Here’s another one: In Hebrews 2.18 we are told that He is able to succor them that are tempted:


“For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”


My Savior knows what it’s like to suffer. My Savior knows what it’s like to be tempted, though He has never sinned. Because of that, He is able to succor me and others who know Him as our personal Savior in our hour of temptation. So, what does it mean to “succor” someone? To succor someone simply means to help them out.[1] In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ will never leave you without help when you need it, when you are tempted, and when times are hard. What implications this has for believers who feel like they are not being helped when they think they need it. The Savior is doing something with or for them, even if they are not consciously aware of what it is He is doing.

And did He not also say, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” Hebrews 13.5? What wonderful news this is to the child of God, guaranteeing that the Savior is not only able to save you, but also able to keep you. Therefore, even when you feel along you are not alone, because He promised to never leave you and He never breaks His promises. But what happens to the person who loves his sin more than he loves his own soul? What happens to the person who refuses to forsake his sin in favor of the Savior? What happens to the person whose approach to life is so passive, so nonchalant, so laid back, that he just never gets around to dealing with his sin and seeking the Savior of his soul?

As Philippians 3.21 shows so clearly, this same Savior Who is able to save sinners Who come to Him, and this same Savior Who is so able to succor the saints, is likewise able to subdue those who refuse Him. Those who refuse Christ and reject the gospel message typically do so thinking they will get away with what they are doing, and will succeed in their rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ. They are mistaken.

Allow me, if I may, to describe for you in simplified fashion the progression that is involved when the Lord Jesus Christ subdues the lost:




Turn in your Bible to Second Thessalonians 2.10-12:


10     And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11     And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12     That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.


Read this passage very carefully some time when you are alone. It is a frightening warning to the lost who will not respond to the truth. We recognize that this passage particularly refers to events that will occur after the Rapture of church age believers, and just prior to the second coming of Christ. However, the events described in these three verses fit a pattern of God’s dealings with unrepentant sinners throughout history.

Here’s the pattern: First, God graciously exposes you to either the light of natural revelation that establishes the reality of God, or He exposes you to the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Respond to natural revelation and God then brings the gospel message to you. The Spirit of God woos you and convicts you of your sin. However, because you receive not the love of the truth that you might be saved, either by ignoring your initial exposure to natural revelation or by refusing to obey the gospel message you have been exposed to, God will send upon you a strong delusion so that you will, instead, believe a lie. And the result of all this? You will be damned because you believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness, instead.

My friends, this is exactly what happened in Noah’s day before the Flood. Consider the pattern. This is what happened to the inhabitants of the city of Sodom during Abraham’s day. This is what happened to pharaoh during Moses’ lifetime and Ahab during Elijah’s lifetime. This is what happened to Caiaphas, the high priest, when the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. In each situation the delusion, as a direct result of each man’s rejection of the truth presented to him, was the delusion that God was not going to bring judgment upon him for what he had done.

Do you think it’s any different today? Romans chapter 1 shows very clearly what happens as a result of someone’s determination to resist the truth and continue in sin against God. Rebellion results in being given up by God to uncleanness, Romans 1.24. Continuation in sin results in God giving sinners up to vile affections, Romans 1.26. And then God turns them over to a reprobate mind, Romans 1.28.

Consider the list of sins committed by those turned by God over to a reprobate mind, in Romans 1.28-32:


28     And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29     Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30     Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31     Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32     Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


Think this happens only to wicked old men after many years of steadfast refusal to submit to God? How then do you explain “disobedient to parents,” in verse 30? That can only refer to children, since adults are not obligated to obey their parents. Clearly, then, God will on occasion turn even a child over to a reprobate mind.

And what delusion will these people, will such as you if you remain lost, believe? Second Peter 3.3-10:


3      Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

4      And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

5      For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

6      Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

7      But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8      But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9      The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10     But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.


It’s the same old delusion. You will be deluded into denying that God’s judgment is coming upon you. You will insist that nothing has ever happened in the past and nothing will ever happen in the future. It’s all just fairy tales told to scare children. Continue thinking that. That’s the delusion.




Go ahead and leave church today and laugh off what God’s Word says. Convince yourself that these are all old wives’ tales, that this is all just so much religious hype, that it’s really just primitive superstition. What you will be doing, understand, is calling God a liar.

You will continue to live out the remaining time you have on earth, sinning and being sinned against. You will justify and rationalize, excuse and reason within yourself. But what will actually be happening, according to Romans 2.4-5? Despising the goodness and forbearance of God, you will be treasuring up for yourself wrath against the day of wrath and the righteous revelation of the righteous judgment of God. In other words, you’re just making it worse and worse and worse and worse on yourself come Judgment Day.

Then comes your destruction. You will call it dying, or passing on, or some such thing. But what it will be for you, really, is destruction. Get someone other than me to preach your funeral, someone who tells the family that you are certainly in heaven. After all, everyone goes to heaven when they die, don’t they? But the reality will be that you’ve been destroyed.

Not annihilated. Not like you will cease to exist, because your soul is eternal and undying. But destroyed in the sense that you will be utterly ruined and in Hell. Oh, the pain. Oh, the horror of it. The agony. The isolation. The blackness of the darkness. And the flames. There will always be the flames.




Being destroyed in Hell for some 1007+ years, there will come a day when the punishment and the agony and the torment will stop. What a relief, you will think to yourself. But then you will be filled with dread. It was appointed unto men, all men, once to die.[2] And die and go to Hell you did. But after that comes the judgment. You’d almost forgotten the judgment. So, now you begin to howl and shriek in anticipation of the Great White Throne judgment. As if your destruction wasn’t bad enough, now comes your damnation. You will be brought up from Hell. And though you achieved great success in your life, you will still stand naked and ashamed before God. Then the books will be opened, the books in which are recorded all your sinful words, thoughts, and deeds, Revelation 20.12. All your wickedness and blasphemies. All your scornings and rebellions. The dishonors and the deceits, they will all be rehearsed by the angel who will read out of the books.

Then you will bend your knee, bow your head, and confess with your tongue what you refused to confess during your mortal span of life.[3] Because of your stubbornness and your love of sin and the fruits of evil, you would never seriously consider bending your knee to Jesus as Lord or bowing your head in respect to Him. And confess Him as Lord? In front of the friends you made who now await judgment themselves?

You dare not look at Him. His eyes are as a flame of fire.[4] Though He was to you at one time the Lamb of God who bid you to come, He is now to you the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Righteous Judge and conquering King, avenging Himself upon you.[5] Remember Romans 12.19:


“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”


As your final sentence is pronounced you are cast into the lake of fire and you are filled with shock and surprise and horror and terror.[6] The loneliness. The falling.[7] The darkness.[8] The pain. The agony. The torment. It is so much more horrible than before. And so you will go so absolutely mad with pain of body, pain of conscience, and pain of soul, that you will endure forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, wishing forever you had committed one less sin.


And what will have been accomplished? The Lord Jesus Christ, the only One Who could have saved you, Who shed His blood to cleanse away sins, but Who found you finally and irretrievably rebellious toward Him, has subdued you.


“. . . he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”


He saved those who would be saved. He succored those who had been brought to life and forgiveness in Christ through faith and who had then faced temptations along the way. But you who refused Him He subdued.


“. . . he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”


You see, God said that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bend, and every head shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.


“. . . he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”


Not having done that by coming to Jesus for salvation and forgiveness during the course of this natural lifetime, you will do that after your delusion has led you to destruction in Hell, and before you are finally disposed of in the damnation which is the lake of fire, where the fire is not quenched and the worm dieth not.


“. . . he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”


For ever and ever and ever you will be asking yourself, “Why did I not come to Jesus Christ?” And what, poor soul, will your answer be? Did you think He would fail in His effort to subdue you, either by grace or by vengeance?


“. . . he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

[1] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 671.

[2] Hebrews 9.27

[3] Isaiah 45.23; Romans 14.11; Philippians 2.10-11

[4] Revelation 1.14

[5] John 1.29; Matthew 11.28; Revelation 5.5; 2 Timothy 4.8; Revelation 19.16

[6] Revelation 20.14-15

[7] Revelation 9.1-2, 11; 11.7; 17.8; 20.1, 3

[8] Matthew 8.12; 22.13; 25.30

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