How the Gospel Stuns Us into Lowliness
In this latest series of posts, I’ve argued from Philippians 2:1-11 that a life worthy of the gospel treasures and fosters unity in Christ’s church as a non-negotiable priority.
So far we’ve considered the why and the how of such a life. Lastly, let’s examine what unity takes (vv. 5-11).
Likely an early hymn of the church, this section of Philippians 2 spans the humiliation and exaltation of our Lord Jesus.
Zero in on v. 5. Have this mind (there’s that word again—the way we think matters so much in a church desiring unity) among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus.
What does it take–this unity, humility, concern thing in Christ’s church? It requires the mind of Christ.
It takes Christ’s way of thinking, acting, humbling, emptying, serving, even dying—all so beautifully modeled in His incarnation, laying aside His divine prerogatives, taking the form of a bondservant and dying for our sins.
This Jesus template must govern our thinking at every turn. It involves three things.
One, you must be joined to Christ to even have the mind of Christ. It takes doing what the Bible calls repentance–turning away from your selfish ways and trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross.
Faith joins you to Christ such that you can die to self and live for Him by caring for others.
Two, you must abide continually in Christ (John 15:1-8). Steep yourself in the Word of Jesus and meditate on His love. Pray He gives you His mind, particularly in dealing with those you like least in His church.
Three, trust in Christ that He will reward you as you choose humility and concern for others. He will guard your rights as you lay them down for others.
It takes faith to act on the mind of Christ as a selfless, giving, servant-minded person. God exalts those who humble themselves even as Jesus did, but He humbles those who exalt themselves.
John Piper asks:
Why do Christians walk through life feeling a humble sense that we owe service to people, rather than them owing us? The answer is that Christ loved us and died for us and forgave us and accepted us and justified us and gave us eternal life and made us heirs of the world when he owed us nothing. He treated us as worthy of his service, when we were not worthy of his service. He took thought not only for his own interests but for ours. He counted us as greater than himself: “Who is the greater,” he said, “one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27). That is where our humility comes from. We feel overwhelmed by God’s grace: bygone grace in the cross and moment-by-moment arriving grace promised for our everlasting future. Christians are stunned into lowliness. Freely you have been served, freely serve. Emphasis added.
Lives worthy of the gospel treasure and foster unity as a non-negotiable priority.
We know why it matters, how it works, and what it takes.
May we be stunned into lowliness while we wait for the exaltation to come.
Question: What gospel passages in the Scripture most help shape your thinking toward lowliness?