Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

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Paul wrote these words, trying to teach us about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. These words are for an example to us, yet these words go far beyond just being an illustration. These words help us to understand just a little bit more about who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for you and me. So let’s take some time to examine them.

As I have studied this passage, I have developed a simple outline: God the Son, God the Servant, and God the Savior.

I. God the Son

A. Who is Jesus?

The answer to that question will vary according to who you ask.

1. Jehovah’s Witnesses

I went to the Jehovah’s Witnesses website and read these words: “JESUS never claimed to be God. Everything he said about himself indicates that he did not consider himself equal to God in any way…” According to ‘gotquestions.org‘, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe – “Jesus is Michael the archangel, the highest created being.” A good resource for understanding more about the Jehovah’s Witness can be found at Lifeway.

2. Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints)

If you would ask a Mormon, you most likely would hear that Jesus died for your sins. But you would also hear that the true gospel of God has been given to us through a man called Joseph Smith. If you studied the writings of Joseph Smith, as outlined in the Book of Mormon, you would discover that Mormons believe that God the Father used to be a man, just like you and me, and that He once lived on another planet. He became a god by following the laws of the god of that planet. A saying within the Mormon church is – “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be.”According to the Mormons, after God became a god, he came to this world, along with his wife who had also become a goddess, and they together produced many spiritual sons and daughters including Jesus, the devil, and each of us.

B. What does the Bible say about Jesus?

What does the Bible say about Jesus? Consider once again these words by the Apostle Paul –

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God…

1. ‘In the form of God’

The word ‘form’ here describes the nature of something. The NIV translation states it as – “Who, being in very nature God…” The New Living Translation says – “Though he was God…”Both of these translations make it very clear that Jesus is God.

On the night that Jesus was arrested, He prayed this prayer – John 17:5 “glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” We read in Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another…” Unless Jesus is God, His request to share the glory of God was sinfully wrong.

Was Jesus right in praying that prayer? ‘In the form of God’ means that deity was Christ’s very nature. Therefore, Jesus had every right to pray for the glory He had previously shared with the eternal Godhead.

2. ‘Equal With God’

Paul also states that Jesus was ‘equal with God.’ The word ‘equal’ refers to that which is the same in quantity and quality. In other words, Paul is saying that Jesus was as much God as God the Father is God. On equality with God, there is an interesting passage of scripture found in John 5.

John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Those who oppose considering Jesus as God, state that Jesus never claimed to be God. Yet the opposite may also be said. Jesus never denied that He was God. A careful study of scripture reveals that whenever there was an issue about whether or not Jesus was God, Jesus never did or said anything that might prove otherwise. When the religious leaders of His day became angry with Him for insinuating that He was equal with God, Jesus did nothing to help clarify their confusion. Instead, throughout scripture we see where Jesus gladly received such worship.

II. God the Servant

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant …

Paul teaches us very clearly that Jesus is God. If that was not what Paul meant, than the rest of his argument makes no sense. Actually, the purpose of this passage was not to prove the deity of Jesus, but rather to emphasize His servanthood.

A. Not Robbery to Be Equal With God

The phrase ‘thought it not robbery to be equal with God’ seems a little strange. What is Paul saying?

1. Paul could be saying that Jesus had every right to be glorified as God, and therefore, He was not being a thief to claim what was legitimately His.

2. Paul was saying –

a. Although Jesus had every legitimate right to claim such glory

b. He chose rather to lay aside such glory in order that He might become a servant

i. That is why God the Son never exerted Himself as such

ii. He laid aside His right to glory in order to become a servant and do His Father’s will

c. The New Living Translations says – “Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God.”

B. But Made Himself of No Reputation

It would be easy to overlook the little conjunction ‘but’ in this passage, however, it is the key that unlocks the true meaning of what Paul was saying. It may also be translated as – ‘nevertheless or notwithstanding.’ Even though God the Son was equal with God the Father, nevertheless, rather than exalting Himself, He chose to make Himself of no reputation.

‘Of no reputation’ literally means – ‘He emptied Himself.’ Christ emptied Himself of what? Did Christ cease to be God when He chose to become man?

III. God the Savior

A. Why Did the Sovereign Become a Servant? (So that He could become a Savior)

Why would the Son of God lay aside His legitimate right to glory in order to become a servant? Paul speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 9:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Why would He who was rich, choose to become poor? Paul tells us that it was because of ‘the grace of God.’ Grace is God’s favor towards us that we have neither earned nor deserved. It was the grace of God that caused Christ to lay aside His riches in glory in order to become associated with the poverty of mankind. How did Christ become poor?

B. The Poverty of Jesus

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

1. The Poverty of No Reputation

a. He emptied Himself

The word that is used here could be read as ‘He emptied Himself.’ Again we ask the question – ‘did Jesus ceased to be God when He became man?’ The words that Paul used here helps to answer that question for us.

‘Who being in the form of God’ means that deity was Christ’s undeniable, unchangeable, unalterable nature. Therefore it would be impossible for God to cease to be God. To say that Christ ‘deprived Himself’ of the riches of His glory might help us better understand.

b. He deprived Himself

‘To make Himself of no reputation’ means that Jesus deprived Himself of the glories and graces He deserved as being God. Consider some of the ways the Son of God deprived Himself when He became the Son of man:

1. He submitted Himself to hunger and thirst

2. He submitted Himself to weariness and exhaustion

3. He submitted Himself to pain and suffering

4. He submitted Himself to many of the limitations of human understanding.

Concerning His childhood and maturity – Lk 2:52 ‘And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.’Concerning the day of His return – Mk 13:32 – ‘But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.’

It’s hard to understand why Jesus would deny Himself such privileges, yet because He did, we have a High Priest in heaven who understands all of our needs –

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

2. The Poverty of Servanthood

Php 2:7 … and took upon him the form of a servant

The word ‘form’ here is very important. At the beginning of vs. 6 we read – Who, being in the form of God…” The word ‘form’ there means that deity was Christ’s inner nature. Jesus is God. Amazingly enough, Paul uses that same word to describe Him becoming a servant. and took upon him the form of a servant” He was Lord of all, became servant of all.

Perhaps you will remember the night that Jesus washed His disciples’ feet.

John 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

The washing of His disciples’ feet was a symbol of the sacrificial death He would die. It was also a revelation of His heart. Jesus had a servant’s heart. He was God, chose to lay aside the garments of His deity, so that He might take upon Himself the garment of a servant.

3. The Poverty of Being Made in the Likeness of Men

Php 2:7 …and was made in the likeness of men

We call this the Incarnation, which means – ‘in flesh.’ The Son of God became ‘in flesh’ so that Hed might become Emmanuel (God with us).

We cannot comprehend the cost Christ paid just to become a man. We can’t fathom what it meant for Him to lay aside His garments of glory in order to be clothed with humanity. Yet the Bible does tell us why this was necessary.

Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

All the blood of all the bulls and goats that were sacrificed, never took away one single sin. According to Hebrews 10:1, they were only a shadow of the upright and honorable things to come. A sacrifice that was appropriate was needed. Such a sacrifice had to be able to

a. Identify with the one it was being sacrificed for,

b. Sinless so that it might make proper atonement.

Therefore a sinless human was needed. But where would God find such a sinless human? The Bible says, “Gal 4:4 …when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman…” so that according to Hebrews 2:9 “he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

4. The Poverty of Death

Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death…

a. Christ did not become obedient TO death.

Death never had any hold on Him. The wages of sin is death and because Jesus had no sin, death had no power over Him. Jesus said in John 10:18 ‘No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ There are two words in the New Testament translated at power. There is power which speaks of ability. The other word speaks of authority. Jesus is not saying – “I have the ability to bring life back to My dead body.” Jesus is saying – “I have the authority to do so.” Death is submitted to My authority. Jesus says the same in Revelation 1:18 ‘I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore , Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

b. Christ became obedient UNTO death. (Unto the point of death which was the will of His Father )

Jesus said in John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Romans 6:3 Know ye not , that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5. The Poverty of the Cross

Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Why does Paul speak of the death of the cross? Consider what Paul wrote in Gal 3:13 ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.’ According to Deuteronomy 21:22-23, whenever someone committed a shameful violation of the Law, their body was to openly hung on a tree as a sign of shame. On the cross, Christ allowed His body to be openly exposed and shamed before men.

Conclusion

1) What a defense of the deity of Jesus!

2) What a declaration of His sacrificial death!

3) What a description of what it means to be a Christian

Though the clear defense of Christ’s deity and the declaration of His sacrificial death, Paul laid the ground work for describing what it means to be a Christian.

See more: You Have Elected The Way Of Pain !: Lotrmemes, Lord Of The Rings

Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus –

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

In essence Paul is saying –

“If He, who had every right to receive glory as God, willingly laid aside such glory in order to become our servant…How much more should we, who are blessed by His servanthood, be willing to do the same.”