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Philippians 2:5,6 – the deposition of Christ Jesus

03-02-2023 - Posted by Hans

For let this disposition be in you, which is in Christ Jesus also, Who being inherently in the form of God, deems it not pillaging to be equal with God…

‘Disposition’ was the subject in the previous verses (2:2-4). This is continued in verse 5 where the disposition of Christ Jesus is set as an example to the Philippians. Often this passage (verses 5-11) is disconnected from the context as if Paul is here teaching about the ‘pre-existence’ of Christ. The latter is not at issue here anyway, and moreover: the subject here is the disposition of Christ Jesus.

In the original it is striking that the disposition of Christ Jesus is formulated three times in the so-called aorist form. This verb form emphasizes the fact, without information about the time. Christ Jesus (1) deems it not robbery to be like unto God and (2) He empties himself and (3) He humbles himself. These facts demonstrate Christ’s disposition.

The question which arises here is, What does it mean that Christ Jesus, being in the form God, considers it not pillaging to be equal to God? Does this refer to Christ Jesus’ present position in which He is the exalted Image of God? Indeed, He did not appropriate (on the contrary!) that honor to Himself, let alone steal it. This honor has been given to Him by God !