In the thinking of today’s world there seems to be a preoccupation with self.  Placing others before oneself is not always the observed behavior.  Israel’s prophet recorded God’s thinking when he wrote … “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word” (Is. 66:2 NIV).  To the Christians in Philippi, Paul gave this instruction … “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4 NKJV).  Immediately following those words, the apostle brings into focus the thinking of Christ and urges fellow believers to develop a spiritual mindset that reflects Jesus Christ.  Consider the condescension of the second member of the Trinity in His willingness to come into the human race that He might redeem man from the slavery of sin.  The Creator of heaven and earth, in his humanity became subject to the created being.  The Apostle Paul’s discourse to the church in Philippi gives us the very thinking of Christ in leaving the throne room of glory to enter human history.  “Who [Christ], although He existed in the form of God, 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. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8 NASB). The magnitude of this condescension boggles the imagination.  God Himself, taking on the form of humanity, fulfilled the prophetic announcement given to Israel some six hundred years prior to its occurrence … “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Is. 7:14 NIV).  Leaving no room for doubt as to whom the prophet was referring,  the disciple Matthew wrote in his gospel, … "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us "  (Matt. 1:23 NASB).  The Creator Sovereign of the universe, stepped down to reach mankind so that by faith in the accomplished work of the Cross in which Christ died for our sins and rose again, any person could have eternal life as the free gift of God. Such a divine plan to accomplish salvation was totally unique.  God would reach down to man; God would do all the work.  Mankind would not have to reach upward and appease a supposedly angry God, nor vainly strive through self effort to attain divine favor.  Merely an act of faith in Christ would result in the gift of eternal life and the imputation of God’s righteousness to the individual.  In writing to Titus, the apostle wrote … “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7 NKJV).  Mankind had become the beneficiary of God’s act of humility in entering the human race and going to the Cross.  The humility demonstrated by the humanity of Christ was to be the standard for Christians … “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5 a NASB).

Comment