Hello everyone! Welcome to Deeper Waters again! I am really looking forward to this next part of our Trinitarian blog. We are going to be going through the Philippian hymn in chapter 2 of that book and this is such a powerful place to go to demonstrate the deity of Christ. I was so excited that for one brief post I skipped over Ephesians to get to this one. Well we’ve taken care of that now. Tonight, we’re going to start in Philippians 2:6, but we’re not even going to read the whole verse. Instead, we’re going to read just the first part of that verse.
6Who, being in very nature God
I was actually on a chat program once where someone made the remark that Jesus could not be God because if you are equal to something, you cannot be that thing. He referred to that as simple logic.
Bluntly, I call that simple stupidity.
Paul here is also telling the Philippian church about unity. Now disunity was not a major problem in the church, although we do see signs of it in Philippians 4 where one member is urged to help two others to get along. Philippians by and large is a church that Paul highly commends and is very pleased with.
It will also be helpful for our purposes through this study to keep in mind that Philippians is one that the scholars will grant you is Pauline. This passage in the middle is believed to be an early Christian hymn. It could have been written by Paul himself for all we know. However, it was a hymn and it indicates a high Christology at an early point in church history.
Let’s look at this however. It’s not a shock that the early church was called to follow the example of Christ. This was in the context of esteeming others as better than yourselves. Notice this. Christ did seek the good of those who were less than him. How do we know this?
The passage tells us that he was in the very nature of God. The word is morphe and it refers to the form of something, the nature of it. What he is telling us is that the nature of God was that which was found in the nature of Christ.
As we go through this passage, we’ll deal with the kenotic idea that Jesus forsook his deity, a belief that no Trinitarian can hold. However, let us look at the very beginning of this passage for now. Paul states that Jesus existed in the very nature of God.
Is there an argument for this? No. What does that tell you? It tells you that this was something that was well-established and self-evident to the early church. It would be like thinking you had to explain to a Muslim that Muhammad was a prophet. (It is not a position I hold of course.) They already believe that by virtue of being a Muslim.
When Paul wrote to this church, he appealed to what they already knew. They already knew that Jesus was fully God which means that we can place this in the line of the early Christian teachings. What does this reveal to us then? From the very beginning, the message had been that Jesus is God. This was not a later development in the church. This is fact that has been going from that time on.
Tomorrow, we shall continue this wonderful passage.