A. T. Jones
The Home MissionaryExtra 3 | November, 1891
(Reading for Monday, December 21, 1891)
Jesus is the example in all true living. Jesus is the example in all true service to God. With the mind we are to serve the law of God. Therefore says the scripture, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). So certainly as we will let this mind be in us, so certainly it will be in us; and so certainly as it is in us, so certainly it will do in us what it did in Christ; and so certainly that which appeared in him will appear in us.
What, then, did this mind do in Him? —“Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” (Phil. 2:6). The idea conveyed in the word “robbery” may be made plainer by noting the different translations. The Emphatic Diaglott remarks that the original, — (άρπαγμός) Harpagmon—“being a very rare occurrence, a great variety of translations have been given,” cites the following: —
Clarke: “Did not think it a thing to be earnestly desired.” Cyprian: “Did not earnestly affect.” Wakefield, “Did not regard as an object of solicitous desire.” Sharpe:“Thought not a thing to be seized.” Kneeland: “Did not eagerly grasp.” Dickinson: “Did not violently strive after.” Turnbull: “Did not meditate a usurpation.”
From this it is easy to see that the idea conveyed by the word “robbery” is not a mistaken one; because the point stated is that though he was in the form of God, though he was the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, and though he was indeed equal with God, he did not think that to be equal with God was a thing to be seized upon, and eagerly held fast, as a robber would grasp and hold that upon which he has seized.
Them Emphatic Diaglott adopts Turnbull’s translation, “He did not mediate a usurpation to be like God,” which, where government is involved, is nearer the idea of the original, as a robber of government is a usurper.
The thought, then, which is expressed in the verses is this: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be seized upon, to be violently striven for, and eagerly retained with solicitous desire, not a usurpation to be meditated, to be equal with God.” But he was already equal with God. He was already the one “Whose goings forth arefrom of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). He was already the one who created all things “that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers” (Col. 1:16). He was indeed already God, equal with God. What, then, caused his mind to run in this channel, and to think it not a thing to be seized upon, striven for, and eagerly retained, to be equal with God, —in other words, to be that which, by eternal and inalienable right he truly was? Something caused it; and when we discover that, we have the key to the whole situation.
From the nature of the case, it is evident that on the part of somebody there was strife, a dispute, as to who ought to be equal with God. It is plain that on the part of someone there was manifested a mind, a disposition, earnestly to desire, to seize upon, and to meditate, a usurpation of such a position, —a position of equality with God. Who was that one? In whom did such a mind manifest itself? Not in Christ Jesus, for the mind that was in him thought no such thing. In whom was it, then? Ah! In that anointed cherub that covered, and who sinned; for the scripture says: “You were the anointed cherub who covers; established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You wereperfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground.” (Ezek. 28:14-17).
Being “perfect in beauty,” (Ezek. 28:12) he began to look upon himself, to honor himself, and to glorify himself because of this perfect beauty, instead of glorifying Him that gave it. He began to attribute to himself the honor and the merit, and to think that there was not shown to him the preference that was his due and that the place which he held was not such as fitly became one so glorious. Then he said in his heart: “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; . . . I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13, 14).
Here is the one in whom was the mind that thought that to be equal with God was a thing to be seized upon, a thing to be eagerly grasped and retained, as a robber his prey. Here is the one in whom was the mind that meditated a usurpation to be equal with God. And love of self, exaltation of self, was the beginning of it all. His own self would exalt itself to the throne of the Most High, and would make all subject to himself, instead of to God.
For this, he was cast as profane out of the mountain of God. Then he came to this world, and instilled into its inhabitants this venom of self.
“And he [the serpent] said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?
“And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (Gen. 3:1-6).
Thus Satan instilled the exaltation of self into man—even his own ambition to be equal with God. Thus it was the selfish desire to be equal with God that induced sin in man on the earth. And thus into mankind was instilled the mind of Satan, —that same mind which thought that to be equal with God was a thing to be seized upon, and eagerly retained, —that same mind which meditated a usurpation to be equal with God, —that same mind which puts self in the place of God.
Then it was that the mind that was in Christ Jesus was manifested. He whose goings forth have been of old, from the days of eternity; he who had created all the worlds, and all things in all of them; he who was the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person; he who was of right equal with God, —he, the high and lofty One, “did not consider it robbery to be equal with God”; thought it not a thing to be seized upon, to be greedily grasped and zealously retained, to be equal with God; but emptied [humbled] himself (Phil. 2:6), and gave himself for lost mankind. Therefore the word went forth immediately to Satan: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). And in this word to Satan there was a promise to man of deliverance from the bondage of Satan, which is the bondage of self, into the glorious liberty of sons of God indeed.
The deception of man led him to put self in the place of God, and the mind and word of Satan in the place of the mind and word of God. This led to the perversion of man’s ideas concerning God, and the receiving of Satan’s ideas and suggestions as the true ideas concerning God. It led to the setting of God in a totally false light in the estimation of man. It led mankind to look upon God as a hard master, a despotic governor, and a stern, impassive, unmerciful judge. Over and over, the Lord set forth his word to the contrary. To Moses he declared himself to be “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Ex. 34:6, 7). In his law he set forth his character as “LOVE.” Yet, for all this, mankind still followed perverted ideas of God.
Then when the fullness of time was come, the Father would reveal himself to mankind as he really is, and his bearing toward the world of sinners. And in order that this might be done in its fullness and perfection, Jesus emptied himself, and “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8). “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
So entirely did he empty himself of all self that he could say with perfect truth, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30). “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). “The Father who dwells in Me does the works” (John 14:10). “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16). “The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority,” “but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak” (John 14:10; 12:49). He came not doing his own will, nor speaking his own words, nor doing his own works. It was the Father’s will which was done in him; it was the Father’s words that were spoken by him; and it was the Father’s works that were done in him. That is to say, he emptied himself that the Father might appear in him. And when he emptied himself, the Father did appear in him. And so, “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). He was “God manifest in the flesh,” “God with us.”
But he did all this that men might know the Father as he really is. Therefore, he says none know “the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). This is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world.
What the Father was to the Son and in the Son in this world that is just what he wishesto be to every person in this world. And just as certainly as any man will empty himself of self, as Christ did, so certainly will the Father be to him, and in him, what he was to the Son, and in the Son.
The word of Christ to every man is this, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself” (Luke 9:23).
All sin is of self, and self is of Satan. All righteousness is of Christ, and Christ is of God.
Therefore let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, “who emptied himself” that the Father might appear to men, and that men might be saved. Letit be in you. As surely as you will let this mind be in you, so surely will it be in you. And as surely as in him it led him to empty himself, so surely it will lead you to empty yourself of all self. And as surely as you are emptied of self, so surely will you be “filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19).
O my brethren, “Let this mind be in you.” Let it. LET IT. LET IT.