Have This Mind

Have This Mind

Philippians 2:1-18
The "if" clause highlights five blessings that the Philippians already share through the gospel of Christ. Each phrase prompts the Philippians to affirm these blessings. The shared gospel blessings should lead to a shared mindset. Obeying the command invites them to bring joy to Paul by having the same mind. Verses 2-4 outline six ways a Christian mind should be expressed: having the same love, being in agreement, having unity of mind, avoiding selfish ambition and conceit, considering others as more important, and looking out for the interests of others.

Paul urges the Philippians to adopt the mindset of Christ, emphasizing the communal aspect of this instruction. To possess the mind of Christ, they must first understand it. Jesus did not exploit His equality with God but instead chose humility and obedience, even to the point of death on a cross. He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave.

"Emptied" in this context does not imply that the Son of God deprived himself of his divine nature through theological subtraction. Instead, it signifies a relinquishment of position and prestige. How did the Son of God divest himself of these? Through the incarnation. By entering this world and being born as a man, the preincarnate Son of God divested himself of position and prestige not by subtracting deity, but by adding humanity. He became the God-man, fully God and fully man. He humbled himself by taking on the form of a servant and being born in human likeness. His humility is further demonstrated by his obedience to the point of death, even death on a cross. Jesus willingly embraced the shame and agony of crucifixion, a death reserved for rebels and slaves. Stripped down, nailed to the cross, and suffocated, he bore the curse of sin and endured the wrath of God as our atoning substitute and sacrifice. The cross exemplifies Jesus' profound humility, as he willingly accepted the lowest position possible. He was not too proud to wear our humanity or bear our sin.

"Therefore," indicating God's response to the mind of Christ, signifies that these verses convey the Father's exaltation of the Son, who humbled himself in obedience. In the book of Philippians, a significant question raised in Isaiah 45:22–23 is answered: all the ends of the earth are called to turn to God for salvation, but the means of that salvation are not specified until Isaiah 52:13–53:12. The suffering servant of God will bear the people's sins (Isa. 53:3–11) and be exalted (52:13; 53:12). This prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus, as every knee bows and every tongue confesses him as Lord.

The Philippians are God's new covenant people, who will show greater obedience in Paul's absence (Phil. 2:12). Obedience is described as working out one's own salvation. Believers must not take obedience lightly, as their final salvation has a present manifestation within the community of believers. God's new covenant salvation is greater because it instills fear and trembling in his people due to their salvation in Christ. Our call to work out our salvation is based on the fact that God is already working within us. Christian obedience is a dependent work carried out with fear and trembling, as God's work is the decisive factor. Our work is derived from and dependent upon his work. God provides the desire and power for obedience. Paul also emphasizes that God takes great delight in the work he does in the lives of his children.

The Philippians live in a dark and twisted world, but they shine like stars by holding fast to the word of life. This word of life refers to the gospel, and Paul takes joy in what God has accomplished through him. He looks forward to the day of Christ, where he will rest knowing his labor was not in vain. Paul's perspective on ministry is a model of not grumbling, even if he were to be poured out as a drink offering. He emphasizes joy by mentioning it four times in these two verses.





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