2 March 2022
The apostle Paul wanted the people of the Philippian church to live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ and to walk like the people of the kingdom. Also, since there are battles in Christian life, he expected them to work together (Philippians chapter 1).
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
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 man,
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
(Philippians 2: 1-11)
The Philippian Church was a good church that prayed for Paul and supported Paul with donations, but it was not a perfect church. A complete church does not exist on this earth. There was also a problem with the Philippian church. One of them was division. So Paul is trying to solve this problem head-on.
First and foremost for Paul was whether the gospel of Jesus Christ was being preached. Paul told the Philippian church that he had been in prison, but that he was pleased because it was advancing the gospel. If he didn’t go to prison, a new evangelistic door was not opened for those who couldn’t speak. So let’s rejoice.
The most important thing when evangelizing is the content of the gospel (message). Because it is the gospel that saves people. So Paul was just pleased that the gospel of Jesus Christ (the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ) was preached.
But even if the gospel is actually preached, it would not be a good testimony if the Christians did not live up to the gospel and the church was divided. Therefore, in order for the gospel to move forward, he encouraged them to walk with awareness as a people of the kingdom so that they could live in the way of the gospel. He also told them to fight in unison because there is a fight in his Christian life (Philippians chapter 1). However, the Philippian church seems to have been inconsistent.
Paul in writing
Paul was pleased that the gospel was being preached, but he asked the Philippian Church to fill me with joy through their unity (verse 2). Looking at Philippians 4: 2, we can see that there was a disagreement between Euodia and Syntyche.
What breaks unity is selfishness and vanity (verse 3). Self-centeredness (footnote: partisanship), stubbornness that only oneself is right causes conflict and breaks unity. On the contrary, it is humble to produce unity. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves (verse 3b). This is something that humans can’t do. Because each has a guilt that justifies oneself and an original sin.
But at least we need to be humble that we don’t know if our thoughts and the theology we believe in are correct. Isn’t it important to understand that what we believe is just one interpretation? And it is the key to unity that we Christians are prepared to emulate Jesus Christ with each other (verse 5).
So who is Jesus Christ that we should set as an example?
In verse 6-11, what kind of person is Jesus Christ is written. When divided into three, 1. Before becoming a human 2. Working on the ground 3. What happened after the resurrection?
① Before Jesus Christ became a human being (predecessor)
Jesus Christ is God Himself (verse 6). It is not a creature created by God. Jesus is an eternal God who has existed since before the creation of this universe, or even before the beginning of time, and from eternal times. He is the second-place God of the Trinity with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
② Jesus who became a human (incarnation)
Jesus, the God, did not think that God could not be abandoned, but made himself empty (footnote: without claiming privilege) and became a human being. Privileges are divine attributes such as omnipresence. The infinite one has become finite.
In theological terms, it is called “incarnation.” Jesus has abandoned God’s privileges, but that does not mean that God, Jesus, is no longer God. But he has abandoned God’s privilege. There is a “Docetism” in the heretical teaching. Jesus appeared as a human being in a tentative form. This is a teaching that denies that Jesus had a physical body. But Jesus really became a human being. That is what we believe and what is written in the Bible.
The great God who created the universe has become a human being. The earth is small compared to the size of the universe. The people who live there are really, really small. It means that Jesus, the God, took such a human figure. This is a bigger sacrifice than we become insects. Moreover, Jesus was not born as the son of a king. He was born into a poor carpenter’s family, Joseph and Mary. He was also not born in a royal palace or a fine hospital. He was born in a barn.
The first Adam tried to become God (Genesis 3: 5). This is proud. Jesus Christ as the Second Adam is the opposite. God became a person, not a man trying to be like God. This is true humbleness and true humility.
And Jesus took the very nature of a servant (verse 7). Jesus said. ” The Son of Man has come not to serve, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom price for many. ” (Mark 10: 45) The disciples did not wash each other’s feet, but Jesus washed their feet. He set an example for them. Paul says (the Bible, God) wants us to know this attitude of Jesus to the Philippian church, and to the modern church.
And Jesus despised himself, obeyed to death, and even to the death of the cross (verse 8).
“Christ on the Cross” / Giotto
Therefore, God raised him (Jesus Christ) high(verse 9). Jesus was resurrected three days after he died on the cross in place of our sins, and appeared to his disciples for 40 days. After that, Jesus was raised high. He was ascended to heaven. It can be said that he has returned to his original place (heaven).
Humble Jesus was glorified. And he was given a name that surpassed all the names (verse 9). This is because in the name of Jesus all mouths (people all over the world) confess that “Jesus Christ is the Lord” and praise God the Father(verse 11).
Paul wishes for a unity of humility and love in the Philippian church where disagreements and divisions have occurred. It may not be possible with human power. But when we look up at Jesus Christ and when we imitate Jesus, the Holy Spirit, our Helper, makes it possible. So, when a problem arises, the one we should look at is Jesus Christ.
As we walk as Christians, the question of continuing our church life is whether we are proud and divided, or humble and united. Even in Christendom, there are those who are causing divisions among churches and among Christians due to partisanship. There is also such a ministry. On the other hand, there are also wonderful Christians who create unity. God wants us to be unity, not division.
It’s not about compromising what we believe in creating unity. But what we believe in is one belief, one interpretation, and admit that others have their own beliefs and biblical interpretations. It means to recognize each other. After all, a person who cannot recognize the faith of others and can only judge is proud.
But never bend the gospel of Christ. we cannot be in line with those who bend the gospel. That was Paul’s attitude. It was Paul who sternly criticized the heresy and responded openly to some differences. Let us be proud and not the ones who create divisions, but the ones who are humble, keep unity, and create unity. To that end, with the help of the Holy Spirit, let’s follow Jesus as an example and walk while praying to God the Father.