Chapter 18

Philippians 2:1‑11  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 5
The exhortations at the beginning of Philippians 2 are founded generally on what is in the first chapter. "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies"—these things characterize normal Christian fellowship—Christian love.
There is nothing like strife or vainglory to separate saints. The first three verses need no explanation, but it is well to meditate upon them. They are their own explanation.
In 1 Corinthians 10:3333Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:33) Paul writes: "Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit [which is natural] but the profit of many." To seek the good of another is unnatural. It is very simple when we come to know the origin of man's solemn condition—seeking self-exaltation. The fruit of the tree "was good for food...and...desired to make one wise." "Ye shall be as gods." They were not contented in and thankful for the circumstances in which God had placed them and that is what makes us selfish creatures by nature. That is its origin—self-seeking.
It is just the opposite of the Lord; all His path here is in contrast to man. That first man of the ear .h, earthy, is a creature. Who is that second Man? He is the Lord from heaven. He is not God's creature at all. That is the One who thought it not robbery to be equal with God. It was not an object to be attained or aspired to; it was His, and He humbled Himself; God did not humble Him.
The passage just referred to is in the 15th of 1 Corinthians, "The first man Adam was made a living soul." The last Adam was not made, but is "a quickening spirit," a life-giving spirit, not simply One that received life, but a life-giving spirit. All is contrast, and we find Him in that way in John 5: "As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will." "Quickeneth" means giveth life.
Paul seems to write as though they were saved— quickened. However, they were still selfish: "For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." That is the old nature, and it is what we have to guard against. That is why he says, "Let this mind be in you"—to seek the other one's blessing.
"All seek their own." We are all guilty of it in some measure, some degree, every day and every week, and we know it. Every breath of the old man is a breath of selfishness. "The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death." What was that? "Thou shalt not steal"? "Thou shalt not lie"? "Thou shalt not commit adultery"? "Keep the sabbath"? NO; what then? "Thou shalt not covet." That is what is inward.
"Let this mind be in you" is important. It is not people's actions, but what is the source of the actions. Two passages come to mind: 1 Samuel 2:33Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. (1 Samuel 2:3), "Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed." 16th chapter: verses 6 and 7: "And it came to pass when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." "Man looketh on the outward appearance." That is the passage more particularly before us. It is beautiful
in that chapter. When it comes to God's choice, it is the eighth. Seven passed before Him, but God did not choose them. There is the youngest, but he is attending the sheep. So he sent for him, and when he came, He says, "This is he; arise, anoint him." Even a prophet like Samuel might have the wrong thought. There is the outward appearance, the height of his stature. David (a type of the Lord Jesus) is forgotten altogether. He is taking care of the sheep. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." The most difficult thing to control is the mind; it is always active.
You hear a good deal said about concentration these days. Psalm 51:1010Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10), "Create in me a clean heart, 0 God, and renew a right spirit within me." The marginal reading is "a constant spirit," not a changeable one, not simply a "right" spirit, but a "constant" spirit. We find the wandering of the mind a great trial sometimes. It is here, there, and everywhere.
Suppose you were asked for a simple definition for "who, being in the form of God," what would you give? How do you and I subsist? What is the manner of our subsistence? We are mere creatures. What was His subsistence? He subsisted as God; He "thought it not robbery to be equal with God." It was not an object to be attained or to aspire to. It was the manner of His subsistence. What could be higher?
Satan said to the woman, "ye shall be as gods." That was really the secret of it—seeking to be as gods—self-exaltation. Twice in Luke, in connection with both the sinner and the saint, the Lord says, "Whosoever exalteth Himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" Luke 14:1111For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 14:11) and 18:14. The Lord Jesus humbled Himself; then God exalted Him. The first step in the Lord's humbling Himself was that He became a servant; that is what He never was before; that is what every creature is, though he might be a Michael or a Gabriel. He took upon Him the form of a servant. What creature ever took upon him the form of a servant? A creature is a debtor to his Creator.
This One who subsisted as God humbled Himself and took upon Him the form of a Servant and was found in fashion as a Man, a little lower than the angels—it is a lower order of creation. "Who maketh His angels spirits"—they are a higher order of creation than man. "Form of a servant"—"found in fashion as a Man." He connects Himself with a fallen race—became a Man.
"Made Himself of no reputation." That is what man is jealous of having and careful for—his reputation. Reputation and character are two different things. A man's reputation may be different from what his character is. God knows about that. A man may have a poor reputation among men but have a good character before God or vice versa. That passage referred to in Samuel, "God is a God of knowledge and by Him actions are weighed," "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."
"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and every tongue should confess." Does that infer that all will be saved? Some are building doctrines on that. Notice the words: "of things [or beings) in heaven, and things [beings] in earth, and things [beings] under the earth." In Colossians we get in chapter 1:20 reconciliation. Here it is subjugation, the recognition of the Lordship of Christ even by demons. (New Translation). It shows right there that not all are reconciled. If we turn to the passage in Colossians, we shall see the difference: Colossians 1:2020And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:20): "And by Him to reconcile all things to itself, having made peace through the blood of His cross—by Him, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens" (JND Trans.). There is nothing about things under the earth. They mix the two—reconciliation and subjugation. Here it is bringing back creation. Peace has been made by the blood of His cross. "By Him to reconcile all things unto Himself": that is future; "and you, who once were alienated and enemies . . . yet now has it reconciled" (JND Trans.). That is present.
In passing, let us note that there is not a word about demons or infernal beings in Colossians; the passage does not go beyond the earth at all. In Revelation 5:1313And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (Revelation 5:13) "and under the earth" is another word altogether for creatures that live below the surface of the ground. All will be delivered from the bondage of corruption.
"Made Himself of no reputation." When He took that servant's form from another viewpoint we get "Lo, I come [voluntary] to do Thy will, O God." There was One competent and in a position to offer Himself for the accomplishment of God's purposes. The same truth from another viewpoint from John 1: "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." He became flesh— became Man, and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory—not as Creator, but as the only begotten of a father. He dwelt among us "full of grace and truth."
A moral school of Universalists that goes further than any of them say that the devil will eventually be saved (as well as Judas and the fallen angels). That would be a one-sided God. They magnify His love at the expense of His holiness.