Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Note 4 at Php 2:6: Jesus in His preexistent state was in the form of God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Joh 1:1). The Greek word "MORPHE" was translated "form" here. This Greek word means "the nature or essence" (Vine's Expository Dictionary). Jesus was God manifest in the flesh (1Ti 3:16).
However, Jesus did not demand or cling to His rights as God. He laid aside His divine rights and privileges in order to take the form of a servant and be made in the likeness of man. He further humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the Father, even to the point of death.
This was the supreme sacrifice that identified Jesus totally with humanity and enabled God to redeem mankind. By dying a criminal's death upon the cross, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy in De 21:23 and bore our curse in His own body. This redeemed us from that curse and opened wide God's blessing of justification through faith in Christ and the promise of His Holy Spirit (Ga 3:13-14).
Note 5 at Php 2:6: Paul was saying that Jesus did not think it was unjust to be equal with God. The reason He thought that way was because, in truth, He was equal with God. Jesus is God. This is a very clear reference to the deity of Jesus.
It is unfortunate that the New International Version translates this verse as "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped." This leaves the impression that Jesus wasn't divine, and the NIV Study Bible presents that as one interpretation of this verse. Yet the first part of the verse, even in the NIV, says Jesus was "in very nature God."
The Message translates this verse as "He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what." The whole point of Paul's statements is to show how much Jesus humbled Himself for our sake. The example is seriously weakened if it is presumed that Jesus wasn't God, and it would violate many scriptures that present the deity of Christ.
|Previous Verse||Next Verse|