The apostle Paul shows us a picture like no other in world history. He shows us not only what happened on earth but also what happened in heaven. He does so in his magnificent Christology in Philippians 2: 5–11.
In this ancient poem Paul pictures Christ “emptying” himself.
Many biblical scholars believe this ancient hymn pre-dated Paul’s conversion. If that was the case, it would have been an early confession of faith and understanding of God’s great work in Christ Jesus.
What is Paul telling us?
First, Paul gives us a picture of eternity past. He shows us the plan of God to send His own dear Son to become human flesh.
In a sense, God did the unthinkable by leaving heaven to dwell among sinful human beings on earth.
Paul describes this as Christ emptying Himself. Though he was in the form or likeness of God, he did not hold on to that but instead came to earth to redeem sinful mankind.
Second, Paul shows us what happened in his lifetime. He pictures what Christ became for us. He shows us the willingness Christ to be a servant and to sacrifice for the sins of the world. As Paul said to the church at Corinth, he who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Christ became our once and for all sacrifice for sin.
Third, Paul shows us eternity future. We need to understand the significance of what is said in Philippians 2:9–11.
Paul shows us what will happen at the last day. Christ has already been exalted to the right hand of the Father, but that is not the end.
The day is coming when all – – saved and unsaved – – will bow before the Lord Jesus and every tongue will confess Him as Lord.
The saved have confessed Him as Lord and continue to do so. They are the brothers and sisters which Christ purchased with His own blood (Romans 8:29).
The lost will confess Him and bow before Him in the day of the judgment, but it will be too late.
This great Christological hymn shows us the magnificence of Christ and the wonderful love of God. It points to the sacrifice – – the unthinkable sacrifice – – which God made for wayward mankind.
And this great hymn points us to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
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