Developing The Mind of the 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 a portion of the God family who became a man. He was fully God and became fully man. (That is MY interpretation.) He was then a man with The Living Word of God imbued into that man’s body. Therefore He was God in the flesh walking amongst women and men. (Again, that’s my view, a variant of the standard view.)
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 throughout 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 God’s Family often called the Godhead, and as such He is equal with God the Heavenly Father. Everything the LORD God Almighty is, so is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Before He became flesh, Jesus was face to face as God’s companion. He was The Living Word of God, and when God completed the design for everything he handed it to The Living Word who “spoke it” all into existence.
Saying this still leaves us in mystery, but at least we have a start on this very broadly mysterious idea/concept.
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 limited Himself to being like a man, feeling the experience and pains of people, but 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 (a substitute for EVERYone who calls upon His name, confesses his/her sins, and requests salvation/rescue). Jesus could then 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.
Are you developing this humble attitude toward God and Jesus Our Christ? 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.