Monday, July 15, 2013

Philippians 2 - The Ultimate Example of Humility

LINK: Philippians 2


This chapter picks up on the "selfish ambition" theme begun in the first chapter (1:17). Paul exhorted them to be humble toward each other and follow the example of Christ who left His glory in heaven to suffer and die on the cross as our Sin-bearer. He "made himself nothing" but that does not mean that He gave up any of His deity. Philippians 2:6 literally reads, "He is the very nature/form (morphe in Greek) of God," but though He was God, He added humanity to His deity. He voluntarily set aside His rights and privileges as God the Son. He was fully God ("undiminished deity") and fully man. This whole concept is called the kenosis of Christ and taken from the phrase "emptying Himself" (kenoō in Greek) in 2:7. 

Continuing with his exhortation, Paul says to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling." This does not mean that we can work for it (we cannot do that according to Ephesians 2:8, 9), but that we can put salvation into practice by being humble and selfless toward one another. The only way this is possible is when we allow God to work through us. This leads to unity and witness to the world around us. 

Since Paul was in prison, he wanted to send two living examples of humility and service to them: Timothy and Epaphroditus. Timothy was Paul's traveling companion and would be sent to encourage them and encourage Paul as he brought back news about them. Epaphroditus was from the Philippian church and had delivered the financial gift to Paul from them and had stayed on in Rome to help them (4:18). He was sending him back with high commendation. 


"Pride is the mother hen under which 
all other sins are hatched."
C.S. Lewis

(I just finished reading Lewis' autobiography yesterday. So it was fun to come across this quote by him in connection with Philippians 2.)

This chapter teaches us that humility and unselfishness are the key to good human relationships. 

How are you doing in the pride department today?


Lord, humble us so that You might be glorified. Amen. 
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