Encouragement in Christ

 

The uplifting topical thought for April concluded with a reference to Philippians chapter two, verses three and four, with its petition to value others above ourselves and not just look to our own interests but to the interest of others.

The verses that follow on from those quoted are, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful and, dare I say, life-changing verses in the Bible because they reveal to us the true nature and motivation of Christ Jesus.  He was the epitome of humility, selflessness and love.  To quote the ESV (English Standard Version) ‘… he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.’ (vs. 6-8) and he did this for us; for you and for me.

His obedience to the point of death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection are the ‘source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.’ (Hebrews 5:9).  Had he valued himself above others and not been totally motivated to do his Fathers’ will we would all be lost; we would have no hope in the world.  And what he did, we are told in Hebrews 12, was motivated by ‘the joy that was set before him’ (vs 2). It was the joy of knowing that his willing obedience to his Father would set us free from a fully deserved death sentence.  ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 6:23).

No words of my own could possibly add to the majesty and beauty of the first eleven verses of Philippians chapter two, so I will conclude this May thought with them:

 

‘So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’