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  • Writer's pictureRICHARD DEAN BROOKS



5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:6Who, being in very nature God,   did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.8And being found in appearance as a man,he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,to the glory of God the Father.

2: 5-11   These verses probably come from a hymn sung by the early Christian church, and they form the central focus of sacrificial love and humility for Paul’s entire letter. This passage holds many parallels to the prophecy of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. As a hymn, it was not meant to be a complete statement about the nature and work of Christ. Several key characteristics of Jesus Christ, however, are praised in this passage: (1)   Christ has always existed with God; (2)   Christ is equal to God because he is God (John 1: 1-51; Colossians 1: 15-19); (3)   though Christ is God, he became a man in order to fulfill God’s plan of salvation for all people; (4)   Christ did not just have the appearance of being a man— he actually became human in order to identify with us in our humanity; (5)   Christ voluntarily laid aside his divine rights and privileges out of love for his Father; (6)   Christ also loved us so much that he died on the cross for our sins so we wouldn’t have to face eternal death; (7)   God glorified Christ because of his obedience; and (8)   God raised Christ to his original position at the Father’s right hand, where he will reign forever as our Lord and judge. How can we do anything less than praise Jesus Christ as our Lord and dedicate ourselves to his service?

2: 5-11   People often excuse selfishness, pride, or evil by claiming their rights. They think, I can cheat on this test; after all, I deserve to pass this class. Or I can spend all this money on myself— I worked hard for it. Or My weekend belongs to me; I just don’t have time to help others. But as believers, we should have a different attitude, one that enables us to lay aside our rights in order to serve others. If we say we follow Christ, we must also say we want to live as he lived. We should develop his attitude of humility as we serve, even when we are not likely to get recognition for our efforts. Are you selfishly clinging to your rights, or are you willing to serve?

2: 5-7   The Incarnation was the act of the preexistent Son of God voluntarily assuming a human body and human nature. Without ceasing to be God, he became a human being, the man called Jesus. He did not give up his deity to become human, but he set aside the right to his glory and power. In submission to the Father’s will, Christ limited his power and knowledge. Jesus of Nazareth was subject to place, time, and many other human limitations. What made his humanity unique was his freedom from sin. In his full humanity, Jesus showed us everything about God’s character that can be conveyed in human terms. (The Incarnation is explained further in these passages: John 1: 1-14; Romans 1: 2-5; 2   Corinthians 8: 9; 1   Timothy 3: 16; Hebrews 2: 14; 1   John 1: 1-3.) 2: 5   Jesus Christ was humble, willing to give up his rights in order to obey God and serve people. Like Christ, we should have a servant’s attitude, serving out of love for God and for others, not out of guilt or fear. Remember, you can choose your attitude: You can approach life expecting to be served, or you can look for opportunities to serve others. (For more on Christ’s attitude of servanthood, see Mark 10: 45.)

2: 8   Death on a cross (crucifixion) was the form of capital punishment that Romans used for notorious criminals. It was excruciatingly painful and humiliating. Prisoners were nailed or tied to a cross and left to die. Death might not come for several days, and it usually came by suffocation when the weight of the weakened body made breathing more and more difficult. Jesus died as one who was cursed (Galatians 3: 13). How amazing that the perfect man should die this most horrible and shameful death so that we would not have to face eternal punishment!

2: 9-11   At the Last Judgment, even those who are condemned will recognize Jesus’ authority and right to rule. People can voluntarily choose now to commit their lives to Jesus as Lord, or they will be forced to acknowledge him as Lord when he returns. Christ may return at any moment. Are you prepared to meet him?Tyndale. NIV Life Application Study Bible


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