Imitating Christ’s Humility
2:1If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassions, 2:2make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; 2:3doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; 2:4not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. 2:5Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
2:6who, existing in the form of God,
counted not the being on an equality with God
a thing to be grasped,
2:7but emptied himself,
taking the form of a servant,
being made in the likeness of men; 2:8
and being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death,
yea, the death of the cross.
2:9Wherefore also God highly exalted him,
and gave unto him the name
which is above every name;
2:10that in the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth,
2:11and that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord1,
to the glory of God the Father.
Shining as Lights in the World
2:12So then, my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 2:13for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.
2:14Do all things without murmurings and questionings: 2:15that ye may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye are seen as lights in the world, 2:16holding forth the word of life; that I may have whereof to glory in the day of Christ, that I did not run in vain neither labor in vain. 2:17Yea, and if I am offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all: 2:18and in the same manner do ye also joy, and rejoice with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
2:19But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 2:20For I have no man likeminded, who will care truly for your state. 2:21For they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. 2:22But ye know the proof of him, that, as a child serveth a father, so he served with me in furtherance of the gospel. 2:23Him therefore I hope to send forthwith, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me: 2:24but I trust in the Lord that I myself also shall come shortly.
2:25But I counted it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need; 2:26since he longed after you all, and was sore troubled, because ye had heard that he was sick: 2:27for indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, that I might not have sorrow upon sorrow. 2:28I have sent him therefore the more diligently, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. 2:29Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy; and hold such in honor: 2:30because for the work of Christ he came nigh unto death, hazarding his life to supply that which was lacking in your service toward me.
- “Jesus is Lord.” We saw, in Chapter Seven, that Paul's true mission is not just converting Jews or Gentiles, but rather converting all of Rome, for Rome symbolized a world order that could not stand in light of the new world order (of oneness) established by Christ. According to Marcus Borg, when Paul declares that “Jesus is Lord” he is implicitly declaring that “Caesar is not Lord,” neither are the masters of slaves, and that there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. But all of these, including Caesar, are part of the one reign of Jesus Christ.
Separation from God, “Sin.” If Paul's principle concern is acknowledging the oneness of the entire cosmic order in Christ, then the term he uses to convey separateness from that new cosmic order is sin. Sin has been generally understood to mean a state of separation from God. For the traditional Christian, this separation is an inescapable fact except for the grace of God or the church.
Metaphysical sin, consciousness of separateness with God-Mind. We saw in the first chapter, on Metaphysics, that establishing a consciousness of oneness with God-Mind is the principle goal of one who does metaphysical work and is the starting point for the creative activity we know as Mind-Idea-Expression. Metaphysically, we know this as Christ consciousness, the harmony of all our faculties in service to our true Self, the I AM. For the metaphysician, there can never truly be a separation from God, only a consciousness of separateness from God; sin is merely a mistaken belief of that separateness. Regardless of this distinction, there is no reason why, when we hear a reference to sin, sinfulness or sin-full nature, we are not able to hear the speaker conveying a sense of separation from my true Self.
See Divine Ideas in Paul's Writings, Bible Interpretation - Acts to Revelation.
Borg, Marcus. Reading the Bible Again for the First Time (2001). New York: Harper Collins