What is your Form?

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Thursday, September 26, 2019


Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Philippians 2:5-6

The second chapter of Philippians is said to be the most profound theological writing in the New Testament. That chapter contains a most elaborate Christology that is not found anywhere else in the New Testament. Like many other biblical scholars, I marvel at the depth of Paul's understanding of the person of Christ, and his ability to articulate his Christology in a practical way to encourage the saints in Philippi to live in unity with one another.

Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians to help them deal with three main issues they were confronting. First, the church at Philippi was persecuted for their belief in Jesus Christ. Second, there were people in that church who were promoting false doctrines. Third, the church also struggled with disunity.

In Chapter 2 of Philippians, Paul provides his theological rationale for asking the Philippian Christians to live in unity with one another. In verse 5, he told them that he wants them to have the same mind as Christ. Whereas there were people in the Philippian church who proclaimed they had already attained a level of spiritual perfection, Paul told the believers in that church to imitate Christ and no one else.

Indeed, Christ is the example Christians should follow. Our goal should always be to live like Christ, think like Christ, pray like Christ, love like Christ, and serve like Christ. Everyone else that has ever lived has had flaws, except Christ. Notwithstanding a person's accomplishments, background, education, or reputation, he or she will never measure up to the stature of Christ.

In verse 6, Paul tells the Philippians that Christ "being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." The Greek word for being in the King James Version is huparchein (which is not the common Greek word for "being.)" It describes that which a man is in his very essence, and which cannot change. In other words, Jesus never stopped being God, though he was the sufferer servant.

We are spiritual beings having a physical experience. Our being cannot change. That is why we should prioritize our spirituality over our physicality. Our physical nature changes through time. However, our spiritual nature remains the same.

Paul goes on to say that Jesus was in the form of God. In Greek, there are two words for form, morphe, and schema. Both words do not mean the same. However, they both must be used to translate form because there is no other English equivalent. Morphe is the necessary form which never alters; schema is the outward form which changes from time to time and from circumstance to circumstance. For example, the morphe of any human being is humanity, and this never changes, but his schema is continually changing — a baby, a child, a boy or girl, a youth, an adult, etc.

What Paul is saying is that Jesus' form (morphe) was always divine, though his outward schema did alter as he went from a baby in the manger to a thirty-three-year-old man on a cross. The form (morphe) of a disciple of Jesus is best captured in 1 Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." We are the redeemed people of God. Nothing and no one can ever change that.

The world wants to see our form (morphe) as the chosen people of God. They want our lifestyle to reflect our godly form (morphe). Therefore, we have to serve with humility, love sacrificially, share the gospel consistently and intentionally, and pray without ceasing.

Prayer- Blessed Lord, help us to be consistent in reflecting the form of godliness so the world can be drawn to you.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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