“did not consider it robbery”
To me, Philippians is one of the most powerful letters in the New Testament. I say that because it’s a mere four chapters, but packed with inspiration, encouragement, and joy. Take, for instance, 1:3 1:6 1:21 2:3 2:10-11 3:13-14 3:20 4:4 4:6-7 4:8 4:11 4:13 4:19…
Awesome stuff. And I pray that you are curious enough to not just gloss over those!
So with all this love and appreciation I have for all four chapters of Philippians, please understand how precious to me are verses 5-8 of chapter 2. They are the gospel in a nutshell. And there’s an unavoidable starkness to the words… “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
But my focus today is not on what Jesus did, but how. His attitude. What He did saved me, but how He did it can teach me.
Jesus gave up a lot to be our Savior. The beauty and perfection of heaven, the presence of God, painlessness, tearlessness… He gave up His inherent glory and majesty. And that’s what He surrendered just to show up! Then He suffered and died, experiencing everything that that entailed.
But He did it willingly. He did it voluntarily. Verse 7 says He made Himself of no reputation. Everything that happened to Him on earth, He did to Himself.
It’s all in those words in verse 6: “did not consider it robbery”. Or as it says in various translations:
“He did not count His equality with God a thing to be grasped.”
“His equality with God was not a thing He was afraid of losing.”
“He did not cling to His rights as God.”
… and my favorite:
“He did not think that being equal to God was something to use for His own benefit.”
He took the form of a bondservant, coming in the likeness of men. He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death. All of His own volition. Which is from the Latin for “I wish”.
And He didn’t regret it a bit.