Philippians 2:5-13

Philippians 2:5-13
These verses in Paul's letter to the Philippians comprise an early Christian hymn, which focuses on the classic expression of Christ's humiliation (Philippians 2:6-8) and exaltation (Philippians 2:9-11). The hymn is introduced by Paul's admonition to live in the identity that is ours in Christ (Philippians 2:5), and concludes with Paul's call to live "in fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).

In the midst of this context (Philippians 2:5, 12-13), Paul draws on the drama of this early Christian hymn, which traces the stages of Christ's movement "downward" from the form of God and equality with God to one who emptied himself, and, in the human form of a slave, humbled himself in obedience to the point of death--even death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8).

At this midpoint, the hymn changes subject and God is the actor who has highly exalted Christ, who bears the name above every name, "Jesus," to whom all knees in a three-tiered universe bend in worship, and to the glory of God all tongues confess, "Jesus Christ is Lord" (Philippians 2:9-11).

Gracious God, your salvation is indeed worked out in our lives "with fear and trembling," for you are the source of all that is needful for this life in your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Philippians 2:5-13 (NRSV)

5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,

7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,

8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-- even death on a cross.

9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

13 for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

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