The Attitude of Christ
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in
Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
The Christian faith of the first century of Christianity
was centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. The preeminence of Christ
was the focus of the early preaching in the church. Christianity is Christ, and
as in many other passages, Philippians 2:5-11 makes this emphatically clear.
Even before His incarnation,
Jesus was in the form of God and was equal to God. Jesus Christ eternally
possesses all of God’s attributes. He is God. “He existed in the form of God”
(v. 6), is not referring to a bodily appearance, but is a strong way of
proclaiming the deity of Jesus Christ. His deity never alters or changes.
Jesus, in His high priestly
prayer the night before His crucifixion, referred to His “glory which I even had
with You before the world was” (John 17:5). He was referring to the glory He
enjoys on par with His heavenly Father. The apostle John wrote of this same
pre-incarnate glory in John 1:1-4, 14.
The event that staggers the mind almost beyond comprehension is the fact that
the Second Person of the Trinity laid aside the manifestation of His divine
glory and took upon Himself the form of a common household slave. He became
flesh. He is the God-man. He was fully God and fully man. He is God in the
flesh. The Word became flesh, and pitched His tent in our very midst, testifies
the apostle John (1:14,18). The one who enjoyed glory that was inherently His
through out eternity past “did not regard equality with God a thing to be
grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made
in the likeness of men” (v. 7).
Jesus Christ exists eternally as the Second Person of the Godhead, and as
such He is equal with God the Father. Everything the LORD God Almighty is, so
is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Before He became flesh, Jesus Christ shared to the full the divine nature and
was clothed with the splendor that always surrounded God’s person. He was
identical with God both inwardly and outwardly. When Jesus became flesh, what
remained was God’s glory in the inward sense because even in His flesh Jesus was
God and retained that full divine nature.
The Second Person of the Godhead Jesus Christ was not selfish. He did not
cling to the outward glory of His deity, “But emptied Himself,” not of His
divinity, but the outward visible manifestation of it. He did not consider
equality with God something to be grasped. He made nothing of Himself. He was
obedient to His heavenly Father as a bond-slave. He only limited Himself of His
outward visible glory because He was still God.
In addition to being God, Jesus took on “the form of a bond servant.”
The essential attributes of God were unchangeable and unchanging. The
essential nature of Jesus Christ is the same as the essential nature of God.
The nature of Jesus is the nature of God. The “form” signifies that which in
God never alters and never changes.
Jesus laid aside His divine privileges and became the servant of Jehovah.
The Son of God became the Servant of God. “And being found in appearance as a
man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death
on a cross” (v. 8).
Jesus Christ gave up the glory and honor of heaven to become one of us so He
could die as our substitute and provide a means whereby God could offer us
eternal life. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a
curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a
tree” (Galatians 3:13).
No one with a spiritually discerning mind can read those words without a deep
sense of thanksgiving gratitude for a humble and obedient Savior. "Have this
attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5). He
was humble and obedient even unto death.
Do you have this humble attitude of Jesus? When we have that attitude toward
ourselves, we will, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with
humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not
merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of
others” (Philippians 2:3-4). That is the mind of Christ in the
Christian. It is a humble attitude of denying self, bearing the cross of Christ
daily, and doing the will of God at all costs.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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