Philippians 2: The Cost of the Cross

Philippians 2: The Cost of the Cross

Philippians 2 admonishes us to have the mind of Christ, who “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (v 8).

In my experience, most believers only consider the cost of the cross in terms of the physical death and emotional distress of our Lord. But the necessity and reality of the cross cost Jesus far more than just those things. Consider:

The cross cost Jesus His equality with God. Speaking of Jesus, Paul wrote that He “did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” (Phil 2:6). Some translations give what I believe to be a more accurate rendering, that He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” (ESV), i.e., He was willing to relinquish His place in heaven that He might die for our sins (v 8).

Moreover, the Bible indicates that His former glory and equality has not been restored to its former state. For example, consider the references to Jesus being “at the right hand of God.” This is not a place of equality, but of subordination. When James and John asked for places at Jesus’ left and right hand, they were asking for positions of authority, but not equality. Also, all references to Jesus at the Father’s right hand are post-ascension. So, if Jesus is at the Father’s right hand, what does that say about His present equality?

Consider the post-ascension references to Jesus as being “a man” (cf Acts 17:31; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 10:12). Additionally, in the resurrection, John said that “when He is revealed, we shall be like Him” (1 Jn 3:2). In the epistle now under consideration, Paul said that when Jesus is revealed, Jesus “will transform our lowly body that it might be conformed to His glorious body” (Phil 3:21). It is not logical to think that Jesus has returned to His pre-incarnate state if we are said to be made like Him in the resurrection.

Finally, consider Paul’s statement about the return of Jesus and His reign in the kingdom: “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and all power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet… Now when all things are made subject to Him (the Father), then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15:24-25, 28).

Do not underestimate the magnitude of what Jesus gave up for you!

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