The Mind of Christ

Philippians 2:5‑13  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Listen from:
We get here a material help to the judgment of one's own soul as connected with one's walk, because we have the example of our Lord; a course, and a mind displayed in that course; shown to us by the Spirit of God. All the work connected with that Blessed One being emphatically the work of obedience, it is the mind of Christ definitely and distinctly laid before us, as that which we are called upon to follow. From first to last He manifests obedience; from first to last He carries out the mind of the Father; from first to last carrying out and giving efficacy to the counsels of God and thoughts of the Father's heart. " Lo I come, to do thy will, 0 God!" On one only occasion was it, " If it be possible let this cup pass;" but even here it was immediately followed by, "nevertheless not my will, but thine!"
The gospels give us blessed details; but in this portion we get the principle that guided Him even more magnificently set forth than in the gospels we find it-tracing His whole course down: " Equal with God," yet " taking the form of a servant." Not merely the Son of God become Son of man, and as such to have certain glories which attach to Him as such-a place in the heavens-sway over the earth, &c.-that would have been a carrying out of the mind of God; but there is much more. We get (ver. 8) the depths to which this spirit carried Him! There was the cross! that cross which had a legal curse connected with it. There was that cross, which, having a legal curse connected with it, made it to Him, as Son of God and as an Israelite, emphatically bitter! Was there that entire subjection of will? Not only not the desire, as with the first Adam, to stray out of the circumstances, but complete subjection to the will of His Father? Had He a mind? Had' He a will? There was indeed a mind and a will in most entire subjection to the Father's mind! If the path of obedience God had traced for Him did not terminate on the life-side of the cross, but on the death-side of the cross, was He going to take it up? Yes! " He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
We have nothing told us here as to the object of the cross-nothing told us in connection with the cross. It is simply presented in connection with obedience and subjection to the Father's will in it. We have nothing put out here, as we have elsewhere, as to how the cross was God's measure of what the world was-of what Satan was-of the thorough detection of what man was in the flesh-it is put out nakedly as what the obedience was of a man who walked on this earth! And it is not that His obedience ceases there-far from it. He was told to sit, and He sits, in patience waiting, and has waited these eighteen hundred years! When the time comes that the heavens are to be purged-by and by-He will be told to rise, and He will rise in subjection to God. He will do it in the perfect character of the servant! As it was in humiliation-as it is now in patience-as it will be by and by in glory-all traced out as the expression of the obedient mind, the perfectly subject mind.
There is an especial force to the soul in this, when He is peaking to us who have known the power of that cross, that that mind which was in Christ being found in us, that we should trace out the expressions of that mind as it came out here upon the earth. I am sure if one has known that cross as the place where Christ settled with God, the question which He alone could entertain in the presence of God; (the question about our sins and guilt and how we find ourselves free among the dead;) so, I am sure, shall we be prepared to find every action of the spiritual life associating us with the cross here below.
Satan will ever be proving the flesh; but what does the flesh know of obedience F It is indeed important for us to walk in the Spirit. Unless there be the quiet, deliberate settlement in our minds that there will be the cross with it, it is impossible we shall find the steps by which He went, and which He thus tracked out for us in the desert, through the place where God first met us, and by which we shall reach the glory. All are linked with the cross-the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. I believe, if you weigh God's glory properly, you will not find any circumstance in your onward path that is not connected with the sufferings of Christ. And I believe nothing so tests and settles what is of the flesh and what is of the Spirit as this principle of obedience, as being the mark of Christ's mind when in this world. This known, recognized principle of responsibility to God-individual responsibility-that which Christ ever walked in, will be found an immense help to our own souls. It is responsibility always; not in the old nature, (that can bring no fruit to God,) but in the new. Everything that is of the Spirit has the mark of the spirit of Christ's obedience. The more we have it the more isolated we shall be with God. Aye, even among the saints, it will be more, " Lo, I come to do thy will" alone with God, as we get to this point of fellowship with Christ and His obedience-an obedience in a path constantly strewed with sorrows.
Just turn to verses 12 and 13, where the apostle applies to the Philippians the exhortation which he had given them, and they certainly will confirm this truth.
The presence of God and the nearness of God-not our taking hold of the power of God, but God's power laying hold of and working in us-produces a "fear and trembling." You can never have a really cultivated sense of the presence of God, without the consciousness of what the apostle refers to here, a "fear and trembling," for "it is God that worketh in us."
I have been surprised, as an individual, by the multitude of questions which are settled by this one answer so simply, when the question of any practical conduct appeared entangled, by observing how the principle of obedience downward, even unto death, which marked Christ's path from beginning to end, being applied to the person proposing the difficulty, will detect whether they were puzzled to know how Christ would have acted, or whether they had a will of their own that did not like the path which Christ would have taken.
It is truth we cannot evade, that the Spirit of Christ in the disciple leads into a path of humiliation and the setting aside of self, though it be step by step. In whatever circumstances we may find ourselves, it is the same mind that was in Christ Jesus that we are to seek, and that is a mind of deep individual subjection to God-a mind of entire and constant obedience to God here below, even if it be unto the death.