The Example of Christ
Philippians 2:5-11
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
 


 
Spiritual unity is a choice and must be worked at.  As believers, we choose what we will support or what we will refuse to support.  In order to maintain spiritual unity, we must be committed to following the example of Christ. Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus.” He is our “how-to” manual. Doing things His way works and results in unity. Doing things in our own way brings disunity. What was Christ's attitude concerning putting the needs of others first?
 
“Who, being in the form of God” (Verse 6).  Some may argue that Jesus was pretending to be God. This would either make Christ a liar or a lunatic. Form (morphe) - properly, to be in the form of, (an outward expression) that embodies essential (inner) substance, so that the form is in complete harmony with the inner essence (Strong's Concordance). Edward Hamilton Gillford points out (1) this includes the whole nature and essence of Deity, and is inseparable from them, since they could have no actual existence without it; (2) it does not include in itself anything “accidental” or separable, such as particular modes of manifestation, or conditions of glory and majesty, which may at one time be attached to the “form,” or at another separated from it. (The Incarnation, pages 16, 29, 39).
 
“Thought it not robbery to be equal to God” (Verse 6). It was not wrong or robbery for Jesus to claim to be equal with the Father, because He is God! He did not steal His deity or a title that was not His nor usurp divine authority. He did not pretend He was God or that He became God. All the attributes and authority belonging to God the Father belong to Christ.
 
“But made himself of no reputation” (Verse 7). Christ humbled Himself and did not claim any rights or privileges that were not already His. (Kenosis - self-emptying.) Some argue that Jesus set aside His deity, ceased to be God, and removed any knowledge of His being God during His time on earth. There is no indication of this in Scripture. Jesus did not cease to be God nor could He. Scripture reveals Jesus knew who He was and so did others. We have the testimony of Elizabeth, Mary, the angels, Joseph, the shepherds, Anna, Simeon, and others. Even the devil, at the temptation of Christ, recognized that Jesus was God (Luke 4:1-13). Christ, as a boy in the Temple, declared, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?” (Luke 2:49). As an adult, Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
 
What did Jesus empty Himself of? The use of His divine power and rights. He never lost nor ceased to posses His deity, but He willingly limited the use of His inherent powers.
 
“Took upon him the form of a servant” (Verse 7). Instead of manifesting His inherent glory, He appeared as an average person. He did not manifest His power and glory apart from the Father and the Holy Spirit. He took on the form of a servant. As God, Christ’s personhood existed from eternity past (John 1:1-3). As man, His humanity began in Mary’s womb. Some cults teach there are pre-existent souls in heaven waiting for bodies. Other than Christ, no person existed in heaven awaiting a body.
 
“And was made in the likeness of men” (Verse 7). Christ became a man and suffered the physical limitations of a man. (For example: exhaustion, hunger, thirst, blood loss, and death) Apart from Jesus, God has no blood. Apart from Jesus, there could be no divine sacrifice for the sins of the world. Hebrews 9:22: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
 
The Exultation of Christ: “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” (Verses 9-11).  Because of His humility and because He became a servant, Christ will sit one day sit on the throne as King. He came to die to enable us to have eternal life. Though He did not sin, He bore our sins on the cross. (2 Corinthians 5:21: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”) Though men rejected Him, one day all will have to bow before Him and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The penalty for rejecting Christ is the Great White Throne Judgment and the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 19:11-13, 20:11-15)
 
All who repent of their sins and turn to Christ for salvation are forgiven of their sins. Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”