"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped , but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross."

(Philippians 2:5-8 RSV)


Note that the RSV uses "grasped" where the KJV has "robbery".

The point Paul makes is that Jesus did not attempt to steal equality with God.

The primary theological issue is the implied comparison between Adam and Eve (and all the rest of us) ..... and Jesus.

In the dialogue between Eve and the Serpent, are contained the three elements of temptation and sin, listed by John - "The lust of the flesh , the lust of the eyes , and the pride of life" (1 John 2:15-17)

Eve thought that :-

- the tree looked good for food (the lust of the flesh),

- it was a delight to the eyes (the lust of the eyes),

- it was to be desired to make one wise (the pride of life).

And under the subtle influence of the serpent, Adam and Eve tried to steal that impossible "short cut" to equality with god ! (Genesis 3:5 "You will be like God")

When we compare what happened in Eden, with the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, we discover the same three elements.

From Luke 4:3-12

"The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." (the lust of the flesh) ..... And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, (the lust of the eyes) ..... and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours." (the pride of life)

In contrast with Adam and Eve, Jesus rejected the devil's offer, and refused the temptation to attempt to steal that attractive looking " short cut " to power and glory (without the cross).

"It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'" (Luke 4:8)

In making that choice, Jesus " humbled himself " to obey His Father. He committed Himself, irrevocably, to walk the hard, narrow road of obedience, which was God's chosen path for His own perfection ..... and our salvation. (Hebrews 5:8-9)


"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, .....

just like adam , (Genesis 1:27) Jesus was also made a man in the image of God. "being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2;7)

But unlike Adam, when presented with the "short cut" to equality, "(He) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (prematurely)"

Instead, when faced with temptation, he refused elevate Himself. He had been "born in the likeness of men" and He refused to be ANYTHING OTHER THAN A MAN!

Instead of taking "the place of honor" at the feast (Luke 14:8) he chose to "take the form of a servant." (cf Luke 22:27 & John 13:3-17)

Instead of grasping prematurely at the devil's offer of the throne , he chose to wait for God's time. "He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:8).

This man who was made in all points exactly like us, (Hebrews 2:14,17) and who was tempted in all the same ways (Hebrews 4:15) humbled Himself there in the wilderness. His whole life was one of humility and service. And at the end, He humbled Himself one more time by accepting without complaint, the totally undeserved and unjust death penalty reserved for common criminals. He "became obedient unto death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:8.)

He "emptied himself" of all human ambition for recognition, status, power, and authority.

(The KJV says "He made Himself of NO reputation")

All this Jesus did as a man ..... It is not something He did before he was born !

"Therefore (because of His human obedience) God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, (by giving Him the glory that had been planned for Him before creation - John 17:5) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:5-11)


However, in our preoccupation with those other theological issues, we must not lose sight of the main point .

The real question posed by these verses in Philippians is this :-

We have all made the same terrible mistake as Adam and Eve. We have all attempted to grasp at (steal) our own "short cut" to equality with God. We have all assumed the throne in our own lives, to make our own sinful "laws" for behaviour. We have all fallen short of the glory of God! (Romans 3:23)

Will we continue to bow down before the Devil .....

Or will we repent of our sins, and walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4) Will we, like Jesus, humble ourselves to live by God's laws?

Will we now bow down before this man , who God has highly exalted ..... and confess Him aslord ? (Philippians 2:10-12)

Will we love this man , and obey Him? (John 14:15)

that is the only acceptable path to glory !

(Romans 2:6-7)