Jesus Christ the Supreme Example of Humble-Mindedness
Philippians 2:5-8
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:…

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Jesus Christ. The exhortation to mutual concord is strengthened by a reference to the example of Christ's humiliation on earth.

I. CONSIDER HIS ESSENTIAL PRE-EXISTING GLORY. "Who, subsisting in the form of God, counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God."

1. This language evidently describes Christ before his incarnation, in his Divine glory; for the pregnant expression, "existing in the form of God," can be understood only of Divine existence with the manifestation of Divine glory. It is similar to the expression, "Who, being the Brightness of his glory, and the express Image of his person" (Hebrews 1:3). As to be in the form of a servant implies that he was a servant, so to be in the form of God implies that he was God. The emphatic thought is that he was in the form of God before he was in the form of a servant.

2. This language exhibits likewise his own consciousness of the relations which subsisted between him and his Father. "Who counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God." The expression, "being in the form of God," is the objective exposition of his Divine dignity; the second expression is the subjective delineation of the same thing. It asserts his conscious equality with God.

II. CONSIDER HIS HUMILIATION. "But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross." There is a double humiliation here involved, first objectively, then subjectively, described.

1. The first is involved in his becoming man.

(1) "He emptied himself." Of what? He did not cease to be what he was, but he emptied himself in becoming another; He became man while he was God; a servant while he was Lord of all.

(2) "He took upon him the form of a servant." This marks his spontaneous self-abasement. "O Israel, then hast made me to serve with thy sins." It is more than an assertion that he assumed human nature, for it is that nature in a low condition. What condescension! "He who is Master of all becomes the slave of all!"

(3) "Being made in the likeness of men." He was really the "Word become flesh" (John 1:14), made "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Romans 8:3), that he might be qualified for his sin-bearing and curse-bearing career. The language of the text explodes all Docetic notions of a mere phantom-body.

(4) "Being found in fashion as a man." As the apostle formerly contrasted what he was from the beginning with what he became at his incarnation, so here he contrasts what he is in himself with his external appearance before men. In discourse, in conduct, in action, in suffering, he was found in fashion as a man.

2. The second humiliation is involved in his obedience to death. "He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." This marks his subjective disposition in the sphere in which he placed himself as a servant, with all the obligations of his position (Matthew 20:28). There was the form of a servant and the obedience of a servant.

(1) His abasement took the form of obedience.

(a) It was not an obedience necessitated by obligations natural to himself, but was undertaken solely for others in virtue of the covenant in which he acted as God's Servant (Isaiah 42:1).

(b) It was a voluntary obedience. The idea of inevitable suffering, in a world altogether out of joint, is out of the question, for no one could take his life from him, nor inflict suffering of any sort without his will (John 10:18). His vicarious obedience was perfectly free.

(2) His abasement involved death. "He became obedient unto death." It was an obedience from his birth to his death, for it was unto death. His obedience was in his death as well as in his life, and he was equally vicarious in both.

(3) His abasement involved a shameful death, "even the death of the cross." It was a death reserved for malefactors and slaves. There was pain and shame and curse. Yet "he endured the cross, despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2). Mark, then, at once, the transcendent love and the transcendent humility of Jesus Christ! What an example to set before the Christians of Philippi! "Let the same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." - T.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

WEB: Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus,

How to Obtain the Mind of Christ
Top of Page
Top of Page