Philippians 2:5; Brief Thoughts

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

While humiliation is an offense to humanity. God, on the other hand, honors humiliation and uses it to exalt Jesus Christ. Further, throughout the New Testament, the greatest among the followers of Christ are those who have willingly placed themselves beneath others. The Lord says it best when he admonishes the disciples that the one who is the least among them will be the greatest in the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:48). In the presence of the Lord who bent down to the earth to wash the feet of people who would reject and abandon him, Paul’s exhortation is perfectly reasonable. If the Master has humbled himself, so also his servants ought to humble themselves.

The call in verse 5 is a call to a shift of perspective. Christians are called to think about Christ aright. Christians are called to bring their minds and thoughts in line with the truth of what God proclaims. God’s proclamation of truth supersedes the perceived understand of any particular person’s surroundings. If God says that a Christian is free from sin, then Christians are free from sin. Just as when Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, so Christ’s proclamation of the character of a Christians supersedes the present perception of that Christian’s circumstances. This is why it is so important that Christians think correctly about God and think deeply about what the Bible says. If believers cannot alter the way they think about the world around them, then they have not been changed and are not rightly to be called, “believers.”

Consider the exhortation in verse 5. It is a communal exhortation, not merely individual. Paul calls believers to bear out the reality of a unified humility, together. Further, the exhortation is based on what Christ has already accomplished. Christ has already given Christians everything necessary for the unity of their spirit. It is “yours in Christ Jesus!” (v.5). This radical humility that runs so contrary to the human nature of self-exaltation is already yours! You have this in you already. Consider that: you have been given the ability to understand and assimilate the humility of Christ. More than that, He has accomplished the changing work in the hearts of those who believe and as a result has established for all time His church! As His church He continues to wash you clean and preserve you until the day He returns.

The verses that follow the exhortation of verse 5 give some insight into what that unified humility looks like. It is necessary to pause here and remind oneself that the exhortations of Scripture are not beyond the grasp of one whose heart has been changed. These exhortations are not too difficult or too far from the Christian’s ability. Indeed, The LORD says in Deuteronomy that His people are able to accomplish His commands (Dt. 30:11-14). How much more can Christians obey the commands of the Messiah with the power of the indwelling Spirit!? The kind of humility and life that Jesus modeled for us is one we are called to imitate. Further, we are empowered to imitate it. A holy life is a normal life for a believer (c.f. Romans 8).

Oh beloved Christian, in the face of what follows in verse 6-11, let us remember that we are changed and empowered to live a lifestyle that is pleasing to the Lord. We bring delight to His heart when we pursue Him with all that we are.

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