Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 2:5-16 Paul not only speaks of constant salvation and its source, but also shows us the divine and rich provision for this salvation. For the working out of our own salvation we need this provision.
In 2:5-11 we have a record of Christ’s incarnation, death, resurrection, and exaltation. However, here nothing is said about Christ’s redemption. It seems that in these verses Paul purposely does not refer to the redemption of Christ. His purpose is to present the Lord Jesus and His incarnation, human living, death, resurrection, and exaltation in such a way as to give us a pattern for our daily salvation.
Christ alone was qualified to accomplish redemption. We cannot share in this work. It would be blasphemy to say that we participate in the accomplishing of redemption. We enjoy Christ’s redemption, but we cannot participate in Christ’s work of redemption.
Although we cannot share in Christ’s redemption, we need to be partners with Him in His human living, especially in His emptying Himself, humbling Himself, and in His not grasping equality with God as a treasure. Although the Lord subsisted in the form of God and was equal to God, He did not consider this equality a treasure to be grasped and retained. He did not insist on holding onto the form of God, but was willing to empty Himself by laying aside the form of God and putting on the form of a slave. We all should be partners with Christ in this self-emptying. This means that instead of grasping what we have, we should lay these things aside and empty ourselves.
After Christ emptied Himself, becoming in the likeness of men and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself to such an extent that He was obedient even unto the death of the cross. Then God raised Him from among the dead and highly exalted Him. Here we have not only a pattern for our constant salvation, but also the standard for this salvation. The pattern includes Christ’s experience from incarnation through crucifixion; the standard includes His experience from resurrection to exaltation. Daily we need to enjoy a salvation which has such a pattern and standard.
Suppose the wife of a certain brother gives him a difficult time. The way for him to be saved in this situation is not to insist on his headship or on her subordination. He should not regard himself as a king and her as a subject. Neither should he use Ephesians 5:22 to insist that she submit to him. To do this would be to grasp his headship, his “husbandship.” This would not be in keeping with the principle that the Lord did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. Although it is difficult for one who has the headship to lay it aside, this is just what the brother must do in order to experience the Lord’s constant salvation. Of course, the brother can be saved by the inward operation of God. However, 2:5-8 comes before God’s operation, which is in verse 13. Surely God will operate in the brother to save him. Nevertheless, he must be willing to empty himself and lay aside his headship according to the pattern in 2:5-8. However, in most cases, a married brother grasps his headship and refuses to lay it aside. This may give rise to murmurings, reasonings, and bitter exchange of words. The brother here should contact the Lord Jesus and say, “Lord, You did not grasp equality with God, and I do not grasp my headship. Neither do I insist on my position as a husband. By Your gracious mercy, I lay aside my headship.” Simply by doing this, he experiences the first step of God’s constant salvation. Now he must go on to experience the rest by humbling himself, even unto death. Instead of feeling resentment toward his wife for having to lay aside his headship, he should humble himself before her. This is to experience the pattern of constant salvation from incarnation to the death of the cross. If the brother experiences this, God will come in to raise him and exalt him. Then the brother will also experience the standard of God’s instant salvation. As a result, his wife may be humbled, troubled by the fact that she has been giving him a difficult time. Instead of reacting to her in a negative way, her husband emptied himself and humbled himself. Now she realizes that in his experience of Christ he is exalted and enthroned. He has experienced constant salvation with its pattern and standard.
In 2:5-16 we see how to work out our own salvation. We also see the source and the power for a constant salvation. As we consider the pattern and the standard found here, we see that we need to be partners with Christ in His pattern and standard. This is the first aspect of the divine and rich provision for our constant salvation.
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