Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:…
This comprehensive passage can be used for theological purposes only by accommodation. It is a practical exhortation rather than a theological disquisition. Paul is not arguing a doctrinal point, or rebutting an heresy. There is no evidence that the Philippians were unsound. It is simply the groundwork for a powerful appeal for the cultivation of a right spirit. Paul's argument, based on the Messianic history, may be thrown into this shape. You Philippians have been a great joy to me, but my joy is not quite full. Your unanimity is not perfect. "Let this mind be in you," etc. That mind was condescending, unselfish, most loving. Some of you imagine yourselves too elevated to mingle with others. But Christ, who was infinitely elevated, stooped to servitude and death. Let His mind, then, be in you, and nothing shall be done through strife and vain-glory. The highest should prove his highness by serving the lowly.
I. EVERY FEATURE IN CHRISTIAN CHARACTER MAY BE CARRIED BACK TO AND EXAMINED IN THE LIGHT OF THE WHOLE HISTORY OF CHRIST. The Christian is always representing or misrepresenting Christ.
II. THESE DELINEATIONS OF CHRIST REVEAL THE TRUE METHOD OF RENDERING SERVICE TO MAN. Human deliverance and progress will remain a theory only until men come to work on the method here stated. Great philanthropic programmes must begin at Bethlehem, and comprehend the mysteries of Calvary if they would ascend from Bethany to the heavens. To serve man Christ became man. So in serving others we must identify ourselves with them. This identification with the race made Christ accessible to all classes. We too must go down.
III. CHRIST'S PIETY WAS NOT A MERE INDEX FINGER. Instead of saying, "That is the way," He said, "I am the way." Men fail when they say "that" instead of "I," when they give a pronoun instead of the living substantive of their own sanctified character. Instead of seeing how the world's misery looks after it has flown from a secretarial pen, and taken form upon the clean foolscap of a great society we should lay our own white hand on the gashed and quaking heart of humanity.
IV. CONDESCENSION IS NOT DEGRADATION.
1. Was Christ degraded? Go into the territories of wretchedness and guilt upon any other business than that of Christ and you will be degraded. Benevolence will come forth unpolluted as a sunbeam.
2. More: How do you teach a child to read? By beginning at the rudimentary line, and accompanying Him patiently through all introductory processes. So Christ does in the moral education of the race.
V. ARE WE TO COME DOWN TO MEN OR ARE MEN TO BE BROUGHT UP TO US? Both. We have here also a revelation of the glory which is in reserve for those who adopt Christ's method. Christ had that glory of right: His followers bare it of grace. Christ promises exaltation to all who overcome. Conclusion:
1. God overrules the most improbable means to the accomplishment of the greatest ends.
2. The true worker is never finally overlooked. "Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great." Why? "Because He hath poured out His soul unto death." In apparent weakness may be the sublimest mystery of power. A man may be conquering when in a very passion of suffering.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: