UNDERSTANDING PHILIPPIANS 2:6
What an amazing event when God the Father conceived Jesus in the womb of the young virgin. We take the procreation of Jesus for granted nowadays, but it is vital to remember his origin, and why God made Jesus the way He did.
· Matthew 1:20-21 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." NAS
The word “conceived” in Strong’s Dictionary of NT words is defined as follows:
· “Conceived” = NT: 1080; gennao (ghen-nah'-o); from a variation of NT: 1085; to procreate (properly, of the father, but by extension of the mother) (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
God made Jesus in a unique way, something never done before, and never again repeatable. Unlike the first Adam, Jesus was the product of both Father (God) and mother (Mary). This was needful for him to be conceived and born as we are conceived and born, so that he could be made like us in every way.
· Hebrew 2:17-18 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (From New International Version)
Jesus was a man like us, so that he could be tempted and suffer as we do.
· Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. NAS
Because Jesus never sinned, he became the spotless Lamb of God, without any blemish. That qualified him to be the Mediator between God and man.
· 1 Timothy 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. NKJV
To become the propitiation for our sins, Jesus would be subject to the same temptations, the same suffering, and the same earthly challenges that we are. He came to fulfill the Law, yet at the same time, he was born subject to the Law.
· Galatians 4:4-5 But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to the regulations of the Law, to purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us and be recognized as God's sons. AMP
Jesus suffered temptation and overcame sin and the devil, and because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:18).
The context of Philippians 2:1-9 because is an admonition for us to have the SAME ATTITUDE in us that Jesus had.
· Philippians 2:1-4 If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Jesus is the role model here. Even though he was God’s only begotten son, he didn’t use his privileges selfishly, but was always looking out for the interests of others. As sons of God, we should not use the power of the Holy Spirit for our own means, but to love and serve others.
· Philippians 2:5-7 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (literally = a thing to be seized for self-interest), 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:6 says Jesus existed in the “form” of God. The Greek text omits the definite article, (which is the word, “the”) that precedes the word, “form.”
The Greek word translated as, “form,” is the Greek word, “morphe” (NT: 3444). Strong’s Dictionary defines the word, “morphe,” as, “the idea of the adjustment of parts or the shape of.” Therefore the Philippians 2:6 should read, “Who existed in an adjusted part of God.” As God’s only begotten son, Jesus existed as the visible “part” or representative on behalf of his Father.
Jesus accurately represented his Father God, because he did not regard “equality” with God a thing to be seized for self-interest. The word “equality” in the Greek is the word, “isos” (NT: 2470). Strong’s Dictionary defines the Greek word “isos” to mean, “seeming, similar, or similarity.” Therefore, the verse should read, “Who existed in an adjusted part of God, did not regard similarity to God…”
The word translated as “grasped” in Philippians 2:6 is the Greek word, “harpagmós” (Strong’s Dictionary # NT: 725); this Greek word means, “plunder,” and originates from the Greek word, “harpazo,” (NT: 726) meaning, “to seize,” which comes from another Greek word, “haireomai,” (NT: 138) meaning, “to take for oneself.”
Put it all together and Philippians 2:6 reads, “Who although he existed as an adjusted part of God, did not regard (his) similarity to God a thing to seize and plunder for himself.”
· Philippians 2:8-9 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore also God highly exalted him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. NAS
We are to have the same attitude Jesus had… doing nothing from selfish motives… emptying ourselves… not counting equality with God something to be seized for self-interest (that’s how the original Greek reads for Philippians 2:6). Notice in Philippians 2:8-9 that God highly exalted Jesus for two main reasons:
1. He humbled himself
2. He became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross
Jesus is our model. He humbled himself before God, so must we. He was obedient even to death; we must be obedient, and die to self. Jesus was a humble servant; so must we become like our Lord and Master.
GOD exalted Jesus; we must allow God to do the same with us, rather than toot our own horn (like so many ministers do these days). Lastly, and not least, Jesus did everything to glorify and give all honor to God, “that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER.” Amen.
· James 1:12-13 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. NAS
Jesus persevered and did not buckle under the temptation of sin; when the devil tempted Jesus, he leaned on the word of God and said, “It is written!” We must do the same.
And even more, is what he did for us, by giving himself as a ransom for our sins, thereby reconciling us to his Father God. We too are to reconcile men to God thru the sharing of the gospel.
· 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 16 Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
· 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. NAS