Tuesday, September 1, 2009

9/1- Philippians 2:5-11 Christ's humanity and divinity, humility and glory

(crucifixion by Dali)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

9/1- Philippians 2:5-11

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

Calvin abridged: Paul now recommends humility by using Christ’s own example. Humility is the rule of life and the way to attain true glory. Christ’s humility consists in abasing himself from the highest pinnacle of glory to the lowest ignominy. Our humility consists in refrains from exalting ourselves by false estimation. He gave up his right. That is all that is required of us. “The form of God’ means his majesty, his figure. The form of a king is his magnificence which shows himself to be a king- his scepter, his crown, his attendants, his throne and other emblems of royalty. His abasement was voluntary not of necessity. We would be utterly blind if we do not perceive that his eternal divinity is clearly set forth in these words. For where can there be “equality with God without robbery” [“used to his own advantage” TNIV] except where there is the essence of God. Isaiah 48:11 says, “I will not give my glory to another.” 7- “Emptied himself” [“humbled himself” TNIV]- Christ could not divest himself of the Godhead; but he kept it concealed for a time, that it might not be seen under the weakness of our humanity. So he laid aside his glory in the view of people, not by lessening it, but by concealing it. I ascribe mortality only to a part of Christ, namely to the body. Christ has one person, consisting of two natures, so properly Paul says that he lay aside his glory when he came in the flesh as a servant (I Tim. 3:16). 7 “In human likeness”- means that he was brought down to the level of human beings, not that he was a phantom (like the Marcionites supposed). 8- “became obedient” – Though he was the Lord of life and death, he nevertheless became obedient to the Father to the point of death. This was extreme abasement especially considering the kind of death he faced on the cross. This pattern of humility should absorb the attention of all the world. 9- “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place”- Paul adds this consolation to our desire to humility- that abasement- to which the human mind is averse, is in the highest degree desirable. Everyone therefore that humbles himself will in like manner be exalted. Who would now be reluctant to be humble since the glory of the heavenly kingdom is attained? For it is the design of the Holy Spirit, that we should, in the death of Christ, see, and taste, and ponder, and feel, and recognize nothing but God’s unmixed goodness, and the love of Christ toward us, which was great and inestimable, that, regardless of himself, he devoted himself and his life for our sakes. In every instance in which the Scriptures speak of the death of Christ, they assign to us its advantage and price; — that by means of it we are redeemed — reconciled to God — restored to righteousness —
cleansed from our pollutions — life is procured for us, and the gate of life opened. 9- “Gave him a name”- Jesus’ did not die and lie with a “nameless, headless carcass” Rather, supreme power was given to Christ, so he was placed in the highest rank of honor. Paul is quoting Isaiah 45:23 where God speaks saying “every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will swear to me.” It is certain that adoration is meant here which belongs to God alone. 10- “Every knee should bow”- God is to be worshipped not just with an inward affection of the heart, but also by an outward profession, if we would render him his due. Paul also quotes this passage in Romans 14:11 in view of Christ’s judgment. All things are now subject to Christ, but full subjection to his will shall not be complete until the final day of reckoning. Christ’s reign is never spoken of in terms of one time, but eternity- which also shows his divinity. 11-“To the glory of God the Father”- means that as the majesty of God has been shown to us through Christ, so it shines forth in Christ, and the Father is glorified in the Son (cf. Jn. 5:17).

Thoughts: This is one of the greatest passages in the Bible about Christ’s humanity, his divinity, and his humility. It comes in the context of our own need to be humble. James and I Peter say, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” The ultimate example is Christ who humbled himself by becoming human and dying on the cross, but was exalted.

Prayer: You are Lord, Jesus, and every knee in heaven and earth will acknowledge that with our worship one day. Help me to acknowledge that today, and spread your great news everywhere I go.

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