Exposition of Philippians
The Example of Jesus Christ Phil 2:5-11 This is a great passage on Christology, the person of Christ as both God and man, but the real point is to illustrate Christ’s humility and selflessness.
Outline of Philippians
Paul’s Exhortation to the Philippians as His Partners in the Gospel (1:12 – 4:20) Paul's Personal Circumstances in Advancing the Gospel (1:12-26) Paul's Exhortation to the Philippians to Walk Worthy of the Gospel (1:27 – 4:1) The Need to Contend as One (1:27-30) The Call to Unity (2:1-30) Paul's Exhortation for Unity (2:1-4) The Example of Jesus Christ (2:5-11)
The Command to be Like Christ Phil 2:5
“Have this mind among yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” “this” refers back to the lowliness of mind that Paul has been discussing in vv. 3-4. The command in v. 5 is thus a hinge between Paul’s exhortation for “humility of mind” in vv. 3-4 and the example of Christ’s “humility of mind” in vv. 6-8. “Humility of mind” being the idea of regarding the needs of others as more important than one’s own.
The Character of Christ’s Humility Phil 2:6-8
Though Christ was (and is) fully equal with the Father in essence and eternal existence, He did not regard such equality as something to be held onto, i.e., He was willing to “empty Himself” for the benefit of others. Christ became a slave. In what form? For a little while lower than the angels (Heb 2:6-9). Jesus “took on” human flesh, but without giving up His divine nature. Fully man, but not merely man... subtraction by addition! Jesus gave up the independent exercise of His divine attributes. After becoming a man, He humbled Himself even further, all the way to death...even death on a cross!
The Conclusion of Christ’s Self-Emptying – Phil 2:9-11
These verses describe the Father’s response to Christ’s self-emptying. Through His resurrection, ascension to heaven, and glorification, God “super-exalted” Christ by giving Him a name which is above all other names. The consequences of this exaltation are twofold: absolute homage to Christ from all rationale creatures, whether angels or men or demons. Such homage will be made manifest at Christ’s future return to the earth in power and glory. confession by these same beings that, “Lord is Jesus Christ,” that is, that He rules over all. Both the homage to Christ and the confession of Christ as Lord are to the glory of the Father.
“Steps” of Christ’s Humiliation and Exaltation in Phil 2:6-11
who, although existing in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God super-exalted Him, and gave to Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Lord is Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. God Humanity Death
Implications from our Study
“Have this attitude among yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Following Christ’s example, we are not to be self-centered but other-centered, considering the needs of others ahead of our own. Also following Christ’s example, we can anticipate that God will exalt us at the proper time: Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you (James 4:10). Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time (1 Pet 5:6).
Paul’s Exhortation to Harmony Phil 2:12-18
Next Time: Paul's Exhortation to the Philippians to Walk Worthy of the Gospel (1:27 – 4:1) Paul’s Exhortation to Harmony Phil 2:12-18
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